Emmy-nominated writer, actress and producer Jen Richards (Her Story, Doubt) has been cast in a recurring role on the upcoming fifth season of country music drama Nashville on CMT.

Richards will play Allyson Del Lago, a tough but understanding physical therapist who helps a series regular through one of their most difficult challenges. The casting marks CMTs’ first transgender character and first out transgender actor on the network.

Richards joins recently cast Carolina Chocolate Drops found Rhiannon Giddens. Additionally, an open casting call was held in Nashville recently for a character named Clay, a 20-something African-American musician “destined for great things.” They join returning cast Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere, Charles Esten, Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson, Clare Bowen, Lennon Stella, Maisy Stella and Chris Carmack.

Richards is the co-writer/star/producer of the Emmy-nominated series Her Story; co-producer of the upcoming docu-series More Than T and writer of its accompanying Trans 102 series; a 2016 Outfest Screenwriting Fellow for her feature script Any Given Week; and will be appearing in several upcoming projects, including CBS’s Doubt.”Her television credits include: series regular on E!’s I Am Cait, Logo’s Beautiful As I Want To Be and AOL’s True Trans with Laura Jane Grace.

Produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios and Opry Entertainment, Nashville makes its Season 5 debut January 5 on CMT with Thirtysomething creators Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz at the helm. Nashville is executive produced by Herskovitz, Zwick, Steve Buchanan and Callie Khouri. Jayson Dinsmore and Morgan Selzer executive produce for CMT.

Nashville Season 5 premieres January 5.