After six seasons — four on ABC and two on CMT — and more than 120 episodes. Nashville is coming to an end. The upcoming 16-episode sixth season of the country music drama, which debuts Jan. 4, will be its last. It will air in two parts, with the finale set for next summer.
Nashville, created by Callie Khouri, survived a cancellation by ABC and the departure of its original co-lead Connie Britton. The series has done well at CMT, with the Season 5 premiere (and CMT debut) delivering the network its most-watched original telecast ever. The soapy drama also has been successful in drawing new audiences to CMT. It ranks as the network’s highest-rated and most-watched show ever, averaging 2.1M weekly viewers (L+7).
But, as a high-end scripted drama, Nashville became an outlier at CMT, which shifted its programming strategy in the Viacom restructuring earlier this year, focusing on unscripted fare, which is significantly cheaper than scripted. Nashville, produced by Lionsgate TV, Opry Entertainment and ABC Studios, is the only scripted series on CMT. One of its biggest champions, CMT head of development Jayson Dinsmore who orchestrated the pickup after the cancellation by ABC, recently left the network. CMT is already prepping an unscripted Nashville successor with the upcoming docu-series Music City.
“All of us on Nashville are so incredibly grateful to the show’s fans, who convinced CMT to give us a chance to keep telling the story of these remarkable characters,” said executive producer Marshall Herskovitz. “And we want to return the favor with a final season that celebrates all the joys and passions, twists and turns — and amazing music! — that made Nashville such an exciting journey for the last six years.”
Herskovitz, with partner Ed Zwick, took over Nashville and ran it for the series’ two seasons on CMT, which became possible with Hulu as an SVOD partner, offering next-day play.
“After more than 120 episodes of unforgettable television, we believe that creatively it is time for the series to come to its triumphant close at the end of the upcoming season,” said Kevin Beggs, Chairman of the Lionsgate Television Group. “We’re very proud of our incredibly talented cast and crew, the creative brilliance of our showrunners, and the loyal support of our great partners at CMT, Hulu and ABC Studios. Most importantly, we owe a special debt of thanks to the Nashville fans who propelled the series to an incredible run. We owe it to them to make the 6th season the most exciting and memorable of all.”
Currently in production, Nashville is executive produced by Herskovitz, Zwick, Steve Buchanan and Khouri.
Nashville airs in 225 territories worldwide. Since its debut, the show has inspired 22 soundtracks, including a Christmas album, which have collectively sold more than one million album units and over 5 million single-track downloads to date. Nashville also has spawned three musical tours in the U.S. and two in the UK.
Set against the backdrop of the city’s music scene, Nashville 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, Clare Bowen, Chris Carmack, Charles Esten, Kaitlin Doubleday, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio, Maisy Stella and Lennon Stella. In addition, Season 6 features Rhiannon Giddens and Cameron Scoggins a in recurring roles.
Here is a promo for the final season: