Now that Nashville has been saved (thank the TV gods!) and is moving to CMT and Hulu for season five, there's the next order of business: Which cast members will return, and which ones won't? New contracts have to be worked out among the series cast, which means just because a fan favorite was a series regular on season four, doesn't mean they'll be back for season five. (See, there's a reason they call this show business).
The good news? Main stars Connie Britton (Rayna James) and Hayden Panettiere(Juliette Barnes) will return, meaning that Juliette's fateful flight home to Avery and their daughter shouldn't be the last we see of the tortured songstress. Also scheduled to return for the 22-episode fifth season, according to TVLine: Charles Esten (Deacon), Sam Palladio (Gunnar), Jonathan Jackson (Avery), Clare Bowen (Scarlett), Lennon Stella (Maddie), Maisy Stella (Daphne), and Chris Carmack (Will).
Who won't be returning? Well, if you're a fan of the conniving and troubled Layla Grant, and/or sexy country crooner Luke Wheeler, then we're sorry to reveal that Aubrey Peeples and Will Chase will not be back. It has yet to be revealed if either character will appear on a recurring basis, or get closure from their most recent story line.
What we do know is that new showrunners, Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (My So-Called Life, thirtysomething), are already hard at work planning story lines for the new season. Although a premiere date for season five has yet to be announced, look for it sometime this fall, and possibly, a session with the cast at the upcoming Television Critics Association summer press tour at the very end of July.