After a Ratings Surge, CMT Orders More Nashville

CMT’s “Nashie” fan base has something to look forward to.

After Nashville’s fifth season ratings spiked on CMT, the network renewed the country drama series for early 2018.

The fifth season will return from hiatus in June. The net has put together a teaser of the midseason premiere:

The midseason finale left off with a tragic twist—a main character’s untimely passing in a car crash.
Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) lived a turbulent life in Music City, where she was known as the reigning queen of country music. Rayna juggled motherhood, fame, and a tumultuous love life for five seasons.

The beloved character died in the ICU after a car crash, surrounded by friends, family, and even former rival Juliette (Hayden Panettiere). It was a heartbreaking moment that transcended the fictional world of Nashville.

Entertainment Weekly called it one of the most “devastating death scenes in TV history.” Fans took to social media to vent their grief and frustration. Even Britton posted a bittersweet elegy to Instagram:

Thank you to all the creators of Rayna Jaymes…#RIPRayna #NashvilleCMT

A post shared by connie britton (@conniebritton) on

But the music—and the show—must go on.  And it will, once Season 5 returns from hiatus.

“We have so much left to tell,”  said Nashville creator Callie Khouri in an interview with Deadline.

Kevin Kay, president of Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT, agrees.

Nashville has a lot of life in it,” said Kay in an interview with Deadline. “There are great fans of the show and it’s got a good future ahead of it.”

What does the future hold in store for Music City? First off—exciting new cast members.

Empire’s Kaitlyn Doubleday will appear in Nashville, in a still-undisclosed role. And Rachel Bilson, star of the über popular early 2000s drama The O.C., is also expected to star in the series—although we don’t know much about her character, Alyssa.

CMT says Nashville is one of its most successful shows, with more than 2 million viewers watching each week. Overall, CMT is showing strong growth, with original premieres increasing by more than 50 percent among adults aged 18 to 49.

On the strength of Nashville and other original programming, CMT generated the biggest yearly growth this quarter, more than any other top 50 cable channel excluding news networks.

“Our strategy of attracting new, diverse viewers by leaning into music-based storytelling is working,” said Brian Philips, President of CMT in a press release. “Not only did we convert Nashville viewers to Sun Records fans, but we’re seeing a ratings lift across the entire schedule, proof that CMT is becoming a daily destination for new viewers.”

Nashville showrunner Marshall Herskovitz gives some inside info about Season 5:

While you’re waiting for the mid-season return of new episodes on Thursday, June 1 at 9 p.m., you can dig into the Nashville archives on CMT.com.

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