So, that infuriating “Nashville” series finale may actually not be quite as maddening anymore — CMT has picked up the canceled ABC drama for a fifth season, which means viewers will actually learn whether or not country pop diva Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) died in a plane crash.
Last month, in a surprise decision, ABC declined to renew the country music drama series, which was averaging about 7 million viewers per week — even though veteran TV producers Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (of “Thirtysomething” fame) were ready to come on board and spice up the flagging plotlines. CMT confirms that Herskovitz and Zwick will take over executive producer duties on CMT, replacing Dee Johnson, who has been in charge since the first season.
At the time of the cancellation, 171,000 people signed a Change.org petition to keep the series on the air and a #BringBackNashville hashtag started making the rounds on Twitter. After the finale concluded with the aforementioned plane crash cliffhanger, fans were furious. But Lionsgate hinted “Nashville” could live on, tweeting “#Nashies What a cliffhanger! But we won’t leave you hanging. There’s more story to be told.” And honestly, it seemed unlikely the show would end on such a frustrating note if the studio wasn’t extremely confident it could make a deal elsewhere.
“CMT heard the fans. The wave of love and appreciation they have unleashed for ‘Nashville’ has been overwhelming,” said CMT president Brian Philips in a statement. “‘We see our fans and ourselves in this show and we will treasure it like no other network. Nashville belongs on CMT.”
For those of you rejoicing, however, it’s worth pointing out that shows picked up by other networks have a historically difficult transition: See “Cougar Town,” which lost its bite when it moved from ABC to TBS, or “The Mindy Project,” which lost a major series regular after the Fox comedy jumped to Hulu. And no word on which “Nashville” cast members (Panettiere, Connie Britton, Charles Esten, Will Chase, Chris Carmack, etc.) will join on cable.
In the meantime, the only people more psyched than the cast and crew who just booked another season of television? The city of Nashville itself, which has seen a huge boost in tourism since the series started in 2010.
‘Empire’ and ‘Nashville’ have incredible songs on TV. Why is it hard to make them into real-life hits?