From left: Alisa, Kerry, Rachyl, Jackson and Jessica, the cast of “Music City.” (CMT)

Remember A&E’s “Crazy Hearts: Nashville”? Lifetime’s “Chasing Nashville”? TNT’s “The Private Lives of Nashville Wives”?

If your response is “… No?” you’re certainly not alone. All three reality shows, which launched around 2014 when Nashville was suddenly the place to be, tanked after one season. So it’s understandable that some are skeptical about “Music City,” CMT’s new reality series (which debuts Thursday at 10 p.m.) that follows a group of friends “chasing dreams of success, fame and romance.”

However, this show has one significant difference: It’s from executive producer Adam DiVello, creator of the MTV reality empire of “Laguna Beach,” “The Hills” and “The City.” So CMT is hopeful that fans who yearn for the days when Lauren Conrad didn’t go to Paris will tune in for a similar viewing experience, except with a Southern twist.

DiVello has a production deal with Lionsgate, the studio behind the scripted drama “Nashville” — he pitched a reality TV version of the show years ago, which didn’t seem feasible until the series moved from ABC to CMT. Even then, Morgan Selzer, CMT’s vice president of program development, wasn’t convinced a Nashville reality show was a good idea.

“She said it had been tried before, and she didn’t think it would work,” DiVello said during a recent interview. “Then she said, ‘Maybe if you give it your treatment, [other executives] will go for it.’ And they did.”

DiVello’s “treatment” is what helped make “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills” such a success: Sleekly produced glamour shots of the city. A group of beautiful young people with lots of drama who tend to hook up with each other. And the inexplicable sense for viewers that, despite everything they know about reality TV manipulation, they can actually relate to these cast members.


On the set of “Music City” at Famous Saloon in Nashville. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMT)

Focusing on the interpersonal stories, DiVello said, is what will make “Music City” stand out from the other failed Nashville shows.

“I think in our world, it’s all about story. … We don’t go out for just straight drama — it’s not just table-flipping and wine throwing,” DiVello said. “People come here to chase a dream, but they’re putting themselves in their music, and that’s the part I wanted to show. I thought if you can capture that connection between chasing a dream and creating a piece of art that talks about that, it’s ideal.”

This cast stars Rachyl (who takes on the role as series narrator), an aspiring law student who is married to Kerry, a model with dreams of being a country star. They moved from Los Angeles to Nashville four years ago with their young son, and Rachyl’s first voiceover dramatically tells the viewer, “I know we moved here for Kerry’s dream, but sometimes I feel like I lost my own along the way.”


Kerry performs at Skulls in Printers Alley in Nashville. (Jason Davis/Getty Images for CMT)

Rounding out the group is Jessica, a singer who informs the audience that she’s waiting until marriage to have sex; Jackson, who is trying to date Jessica and may or may not have an issue with the aforementioned pledge; Alisa, another singer who is also determined to meet a nice guy; and Alexandra, a Miss Tennessee USA contestant who says things like, “That’s just what Nashville needs, one more dreamer coming to the city and trying to be a musician.”

Locals might roll their eyes at the portrayal of the city, along with the fact that none of the cast members seem to be well-known in the music community. But after years of “The Hills” stars talking about how producers manipulated scenes, no one is under any illusions that this is actually trying to capture how “real” Nashville works. It’s all about what makes the best TV.

“We always say, it’s not a documentary,” DiVello said. “We’re not with them 24 hours a day, so everything has to be planned in advance, locations and whatnot — but the stories are all theirs.”

Ultimately, he said, “I think people know it is what it is.”

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