Well, this is an interesting timing — as ABC is finalizing its renewal decisions for next season this week, the network just announced today’s launch of a string of three Nashville Virtual Reality specials, part of its ongoing “On the Record” digital series. Set at the show’s popular Bluebird Café, the three specials are set for release over the next three weeks, with the third coinciding with the Season 4 finale on May 25.
The initiative is either a case of astute thinking ahead to Season 5 or a case of two divisions of the company — primetime entertainment and digital — being a little out of synch. Signs have been positive on a Season 5 renewal for Nashville, co-produced by Lionsgate TV and ABC Studios, with even a full-season order considered a possibility. There had been excitement at the network over the hire by Lionsgate TV of veterans Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, who already are working with writers on breaking stories for next season.
Still, with Castle also on the bubble, coming off a highly rated episode on Monday, if ABC has to keep one, the scales will likely tip in favor of the veteran procedural, which is fully owned by ABC. But Nashville is considered a viable possibility.
While not a strong ratings performer, the music drama has solid DVR bumps. Nashville also is a brand for ABC, with Nashville-themed TV music specials, soundtracks, tours, and now a VR digital extension.
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