Halfway through Season 5 of Nashville — its first on CMT — the Viacom cable network has ordered a 16-episode sixth season of the country music drama for premiere early next year. Additionally, CMT has set June 1 for the midseason premiere of Season 5 and has added Jeff Nordling (Big Little Lies, Desperate Housewives) as recurring.
He will play Brad Maitland, an extremely successful, charming, egotistical, narcissistic owner of the most successful record label in Nashville. Nordling joins previously announced new cast additions Rachel Bilson and Kaitlin Doubleday.
Season 6’s episode count is down from Season 5, which consisted of 22 episodes, in line with Nashville‘s first four seasons on broadcaster ABC. Still, the size of the Season 6 order is on the high end for a cable series. CMT also has released a new preview clip of what’s to come in the back half of Season 5, including new footage and commentary from executive producer/showrunner Marshall Herskovitz (you can watch it above). Hulu will continue to stream episodes the day after they premiere on CMT.
Nashville has done very well at CMT since moving to the network from its original home at ABC. The series, which wrapped its 13-episode Season 5 winter season last month punctuated by the death of Connie Britton’s Rayna James, ranks as the highest-rated and most-watched show in the network’s history, averaging 2.1M weekly viewers in L+7. Nashville has lifted CMT, whose total day ratings are up 19% with adults 18-49 and 25% with women 18-49.
“I believe Nashville has a lot of life in it,” Kevin Kay, president of Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT, recently told Deadline. “I think it’s a great show, I’ve been a fan of it forever.” He indicated that the plan is for Nashville to stay on CMT, where it has “done so much great work”, and not move to the Paramount Network, which will become Viacom’s leading scripted series brand.
The midseason Nashville premiere picks up 10 weeks after the events that unfolded in the midseason finale. Deacon helps Daphne with a school project, but Daphne feels unmotivated. Juliette gives Maddie unsolicited advice about a song. Scarlett and Gunnar receive news about the baby.
Nashville is set against the backdrop of the city’s music scene and follows the lives of country music superstars as well as the up-and-coming performers and songwriters trying to get ahead in the business. It stars Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes, Clare Bowen as Scarlett O’Connor, Chris Carmack as Will Lexington, Charles Esten as Deacon Claybourne, Jonathan Jackson as Avery Barkley, Sam Palladio as Gunnar Scott, Maisy Stella as Daphne Conrad and Lennon Stella as Maddie Conrad. In addition, this season features Joseph David-Jones as Clay, Rhiannon Giddens as Hallie Jordan and Cameron Scoggins as Zach Welles in recurring roles.
The series is executive produced by Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, along with Steve Buchanan and Callie Khouri.
Since its debut, Nashville has inspired 10 soundtracks, including a Christmas album, which have collectively sold more than one million album units and over 5 million single-track downloads to date. It has also been nominated for multiple Emmy, Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards.
Esten and Panettiere took to Facebook Live to surprise the Nashville crew with the Season 6 renewal announcement. Check it out below: