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Netflix Christmas movies(10/17/18) Netflix has announced premiere dates for its slate of Christmas movies: The Holiday Calendar, starring Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries), Quincy Brown (Star) and Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us), will debut Friday, Nov. 2; Vanessa Hudgens (Grease: Live) and Sam Palladio (Nashville) headline The Princess Switch on Friday, Nov. 16; and Rose McIver (iZombie) returns in the sequel A Christmas Prince 2: Royal Wedding on Friday, Nov. 30.
Will Chase on Madam Secretary 10/28/18(10/11/18) “Requiem” – When the remains of U.S. soldiers who served in World War II are uncovered in Southeast Asia, Elizabeth’s hopes of bringing them home quickly fade when a stubborn leader stands in her way. Also, Henry and Stevie find themselves publicly targeted by a restaurant owner who is angry about Elizabeth’s policies, and Alison volunteers for a local congressional campaign, on MADAM SECRETARY, Sunday, Oct. 28 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
GUEST CAST includes: Sandra Daley (Adele Steele), Joel De La Fuente (President Datu Andrada), Will Chase (Owen Callister)
“DIRTY JOHN” STARRING CONNIE BRITTON AND ERIC BANA PREMIERES SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 25 AT 10PM ET/PT(10/8/18) Bravo Media’s seductive scripted anthology “Dirty John,” starring Connie Britton and Eric Bana, premieres on Sunday, November 25 at 10pm ET/PT. Based on the articles and breakout true crime podcast with over 30 million downloads from Los Angeles Times reporter Christopher Goffard, the series tells the cautionary tale of how a whirlwind romance between Debra Newell (Britton) and the charismatic con-man John Meehan (Bana) spiraled into a frightening web of deception, denial and mental terror that nearly tore a family apart. Created by Alexandra Cunningham and directed by Jeffrey Reiner, the eight hour-long episodes are produced by Universal Cable Productions (UCP), in association with Los Angeles Times Studios and Atlas Entertainment.
For a look at the trailer, visit: https://www.bravotv.com/dirty-john/season-1/videos/watch-the-official-dirty-john-trailer
Debra Newell has a seemingly perfect life: she’s successful, beautiful and lives in one of California’s most desirable coastal cities, Newport Beach. The only thing missing is love. So when she finally meets charming and handsome doctor John Meehan, she’s quickly swept into a whirlwind romance, much to the dismay of her daughters Terra (Julia Garner) and Veronica (Juno Temple). Their fast-tracked relationship creates tension between Debra and the girls, leaving them no choice but to investigate the stranger who has swept their mother off her feet. And with a fraught family history, the backstory of Debra and her mother Arlane (Jean Smart) provides insight into why she may have been so vulnerable to John in the first place. As Debra gets drawn deeper into his lies and sinister game of psychological manipulation, it results in horrific consequences for an entire family.
The anthology series, “Dirty John,” received a two season, straight to series order from Bravo Media. The second season will be a based on an all-new story. Cunningham and Reiner both serve as executive producers along with Richard Suckle and Charles Roven for Atlas Entertainment; Mark Herzog, Christopher G. Cowen and Chris Argentieri for Los Angeles Times Studios; and series stars Connie Britton and Eric Bana.
Early next year, sister network Oxygen Media will air a companion documentary “Dirty John, The Dirty Truth” produced by Herzog & Co and Los Angeles Times Studios. The special delves into the life of John Meehan through the eyes of the real people he deceived and traces his trail of deceit that started long before he met Debra Newell.
For more information on the show, please visit: Bravotv.com/dirty-john. Fans can check out the official Facebook page @DirtyJohnBravo, Instagram handle at @DirtyJohnBravo and join the conversation on Twitter @BravoTV using the hashtag #DirtyJohn.
Lifetime Greenlights ‘Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter’ And ‘Death Of A Cheerleader’ Remake(10/4/18) Lifetime Greenlights ‘Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter’ And ‘Death Of A Cheerleader’ Remake.
Lifetime said today it has greenlit two movies for 2019 to add to the network’s collection of originals. The first is Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter, which will be executive produced, narrated, and co-written by the real-life Victoria Gotti. The second is a remake of Death of a Cheerleader, the cult hit that< originally starred Kellie Martin, who will be back for the new iteration.
Victoria Gotti takes us deep into the world of what it was like to grow up as the daughter of mob boss John Gotti, revealing the glamour, glitz and unique hardships of her world. Chelsea Frei will play the titular Victoria as she shares never-before-revealed stories about her life, from being a sensitive child growing up with her father (Maurice Benard), the tragedy of her younger brother’s death, and her relationship with a the man who would become her husband — a relationship her father did not approve of.
Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter is produced by Relevé Entertainment for Lifetime with Victoria Gotti. Jennifer Wachtell (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) and Holly Carter (Home is Where You Find It) will serve as executive producers. Catherine Cyran (The Prince & Me) directed the script co-written by Gotti and David Schneiderman (Chasing Liberty). The film is based on Gotti’s book This Family of Mine: What It Was Like Growing Up Gotti. Victoria Gotti will appear on camera narrating her story.
Inspired by Randall Sullivan’s Rolling Stone article about the real-life murder of a popular, affluent and beautiful Northern California high school cheerleader at the hand of a classmate, Death of a Cheerleader stars Aubrey Peeples as Bridget Moretti, a shy outsider from a lower middle-class background who aspires to be beautiful, popular and perfect in everything. She believes that her key to all of this would be the rich and popular Kelly Locke (Sarah Dugdale), who is the leader of the school’s most prestigious clique. When Bridget tries to develop a friendship with Kelly, things don’t go as planned as she gets rejected. It leaves her humiliated and fuels a jealous rage that will lead to murder.
Martin starred alongside Tori Spelling in the original, and returns to play the FBI agent who cracks the case.
Death of a Cheerleader is produced by Just Singer Entertainment and Reunion Pacific Entertainment. Executive producers are Matthew O’Connor, Paddy Bickerton, Steve White and Sheri Singer. Paul Shapiro directs the script written by Caitlin D. Fryers.
Frei is repped by Paradigm Talent Agency.
‘Panic’: Ray Nicholson, Will Chase & Kevin Alves Join Amazon YA Pilot As Series Regulars(10/4/18) Ray Nicholson, Will Chase and Kevin Alves have landed series-regular roles in Amazon Studios’ YA pilot Panic, from writer Lauren Oliver based on her best-selling book and producers Joe Roth & Jeff Kirschenbaum.
Written and created by Oliver, Panic centers on a forgotten rural town where every year the graduating seniors risk their lives in an illegal, high-stakes game to win life-changing money–and a chance to escape. Anonymous judges force the players through a series of challenges that will compel them to confront their deepest fears – and upend their ideas of who they are, who to trust, and who they might become. This year, 47 players — three of them played by Olivia Welch, Mike Faist and Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut — will compete for the biggest pot ever. All of them will be changed. Only one will win.
Nicholson will play Ray Hanrahan. Big, good-looking and dangerous, Ray is the only kid you’d expect to succeed in a town like Carp: a high school apex predator. He has a long memory and a short fuse. Nicholson, whose credits include The Outsider and the upcoming Now Is Everything, is the son of Jack Nicholson.
Chase is Sheriff Kean, a man with an intimidating presence who keeps the local kids on edge. He lost his son to the competition and is hellbent on putting an end to the game for good. Chase played Luke Wheeler on Nashville and recently recurred on Stranger Things and Sharp Objects. Next up is a recurring role on NBC’s midseason drama The Village. He is repped by manager Anthony Calamita and Jackoway Austen.
Alves is set as Bishop. Messy and kind of cute with a big heart, he is the best friend of Heather (Welch). Bishop has more of a chance than anyone to escape Carp but appreciates where he’s at in life at the moment — especially now that he’s done with high school forever. He would support Heather and Natalie (Chestnut) no matter what but is very worried when both join the competition, Akves, who recently recurred as Bat on Shadowhunters and guested on Chicago Fire and Saving Hope, is repped by Connekt Creative Agency and D2 Management.
Palladio Joins Catherine the Great(10/4/18) Sam Palladio (Nashville) has joined the cast of Catherine the Great as Alexander Vasilichikov, Catherine’s young lover.
The HBO limited series does not yet have a premiere date.
Grey's Anatomy EP Krista Vernoff Says Not to Judge Chris Carmack's Hot Doc by His Cover: 'He Defies Expectations(9/10/18) Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff is so sure that fans are going to love Nashville alum Chris Carmack‘s Link that, rather than spoil his debut in Season 15, “I kind of want fans to discover him,” she tells TVLine. Still, she can’t resist sharing a few details. (He’s just. That. Lovable.) For instance…
“He’s the first ortho god that we’ve had [at Grey Sloan] since Callie, who was an ortho goddess in my mind,” the EP says. Formerly the team surgeon for the Seattle Mariners, Link “brings the confidence of that. And Chris brings his own sense of humor to the set, and that has been really joyful to explore.”
What’s more, Link — whose as-yet-undisclosed full name is a punchline all its own — isn’t likely to remind viewers of a younger Alex or an older DeLuca. “He’s got a different energy than any of the other men in our cast,” Vernoff teases. “It’s fun and funny. And when you look like that, men are maybe disinclined to like you off the bat, but Link is so likable that he defies expectations.”
Robert Wisdom Joins ‘The Fix’(8/31/18) The Alienist’s Robert Wisdom has booked a recurring role on ABC’s new legal drama The Fix, from Marcia Clark, Liz Craft, Sarah Fain, Mandeville TV and ABC Studios. Co-written by Clark, The Fix centers on Maya Travis (Robin Tunney), an L.A. district attorney who suffers a devastating defeat when prosecuting an A-list actor for double murder. With her high-profile career derailed, she flees for a quieter life in Washington. Eight years later when this same celebrity is under suspicion for another murder, Maya is lured back to the DA’s office for another chance at justice. Wisdom will play Buck Neal, an investigator who works closely with Ezra Wolf (Scott Cohen). Wisdom was most recently seen as Cyrus Montrose on TNT’s criticially praised The Alienist opposite Daniel Bruehl, Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. He recently wrapped Motherless Brooklyn opposite Willem Defoe and Ed Norton and appeared in Beast of Burden opposite Daniel Radcliffe and Grace Gummer. His recurring roles include HBO’s Ballers and Netflix’s Flaked. Wisdom is repped by Buchwald and LINK Entertainment.
Jonathan Jackson offers his Emmy Award to Mount Athos Monastery(8/31/18) (greekcitytimes.com) (Photo) (Video) Popular Hollywood star Jonathan Jackson, visited Holy Mount Athos together with his 8-year-old-son on Tuesday, to offer one of his Emmy Awards, reports vimaorthodoxias.gr.
During his five day visit, Jackson spent most of his time at the Vatopedi Monastery in the Monks Republic Mount Athos to honour the Dormition of the Virgin Mary but also visited the Xenophontos and Simonopetra Monasteries.
Jackson, who attended all services with his son, is overwhelmed by the life of Athonite monks. He has characterized Archimandrite Ephraim, Abbot of Vatopedi Monastery, as “a man filled with the love of Christ”. Jackson has been in close contact with the Vatopedi Monastery ever since he was baptized Greek Orthodox in 2012. In an interview given to Greek journalist, Jackson stated that he has read much about the Holy Mountain and dreamt of visiting Mount Athos and seeing the holy place where people for more than 1000 years are praying for mankind.
As a pilgrimage to Mount Athos, Jackson offered his Emmy Award he received in 2012 to Metropolitan Bishop Atlantas Alexios and received the blessing by Abbot Efraim. “This symbolic gesture deeply touched the holy father,” stated vimaorthodoxias.gr.
In the same year and during his acceptance speech for his Emmy Award, he thanked the Holy Trinity as well as the monks of Mount Athos.
Jackson later explained in an interview, “These people (are) dedicating their lives to prayer, and not just praying for themselves, but truly praying for all of us. And then the thought kind of crossed my mind: with all the destruction, chaos and insanity that goes on in this world, if their prayers weren’t happening, what would this world be like? I felt personally like I just wanted to thank them because I really believe that their prayers mean a lot.”
Skai.gr reported that Jackson is planning a film about Elder Joseph the Hesychast, (1897-1959) a monk of Mount Athos acclaimed to be the spiritual father of Elders Ephrem of Philotheou, Joseph of Vatopedi, Charalampus of Dionysiou and others, who are directly credited for revitalising six of the twenty monasteries on Mount Athos. The film location is to take place on Mount Athos and on the island of Paros where the Elder was born.
Jackson’s well-known character was ‘Lucky Spencer’ on the ABC Daytime soap opera General Hospital, a role that has won him five Emmy Awards.
American Horror Story: Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott Back for Season 8(8/23/18) The residents of American Horror Story‘s Murder House are moving back in: Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott will be back for the FX thriller’s upcoming crossover season, TheWrap reports.
Britton and McDermott starred in Horror Story’s first season as married couple Vivien and Ben Harmon, who moved into the haunted home that gave Season 1 its name. It’s not yet confirmed that the actors will be reprising those specific roles, but it seems likely, given that Season 8 — titled American Horror Story: Apocalypse — will merge the worlds of Murder House and Coven (Season 3).
Cody Fern (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story) will also appear in Apocalypse as a grown-up version of evil Murder House baby Michael Langdon.
Series co-creator Ryan Murphy recently shared a photo from the Season 8 set, which reunited Coven stars Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe, Emma Roberts, Frances Conroy, Gabourey Sidibe, Taissa Farmiga and Stevie Nicks.
Also set to appear in Apocalypse, described as a nightmarish tale that “begins with the end of the world”: AHS alumni Kathy Bates, Billie Lourd, Leslie Grossman, Adina Porter, Evan Peters, Billy Eichner, Cheyenne Jackson and Jessica Lange.
American Horror Story: Apocalypse premieres Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 10/9c on FX.
Laura Benanti To Replace Apple-Bound Lauren Ambrose In Broadway’s ‘My Fair Lady’(8/23/18) Tony Award winner Laura Benanti will take over as Eliza Doolittle in Broadway’s My Fair Lady, replacing the departing Lauren Ambrose. As reported exclusively by Deadline yesterday, Ambrose has been cast in Apple’s upcoming psychological thriller series from M. Night Shyamalan and British TV writer Tony Basgallop.
Ambrose’s final My Fair Lady performance will be Sunday, Oct. 21. Benanti, who won the 2008 best featured actress Tony for her role opposite Patti LuPone in Gypsy, will begin My Fair Lady on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
Benanti’s limited engagement in My Fair Lady, directed by Bartlett Sher, is scheduled through Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater.
“Eliza Doolittle has been my dream role for as long as I can remember,” Benanti said, “so I couldn’t be more excited to join this brilliant company. Working with Bart and getting to be part of this show is a dream come true.”
Benanti joins a cast of 37 headed by Harry Hadden-Paton, Norbert Leo Butz, Rosemary Harris, Allan Corduner, Jordan Donica, Linda Mugleston, and Clarke Thorell.
Kerstin Anderson will play the role of Eliza Doolittle at all Tuesday evening performances beginning October 30.
Lincoln Center Theater is producing Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady in association with Nederlander Presentations.
Oliver Hudson, Eva Marcille on Match Game(8/21/18) “405” – Everybody get ready to BLANK because there is an all-new episode of “Match Game,” airing THURSDAY, SEPT. 6 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand. Hosted by Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award-winning actor Alec Baldwin, “Match Game” is produced by FremantleMedia North America and features four contestants each week vying for the chance to win $25,000, as they attempt to match the answers of six celebrities in a game of fill-in-the-blank.
Celebrity panelists for Sept. 6 include the following:
Joining the celebrity panelists are contestants Kevin Arbouet (hometown: Oakland Gardens, New York), Jennifer Naso (hometown: Larchmont, New York), Victory Joseph (hometown: San Bruno, California) and Deborah Smith (hometown: Woodland Hills, California).
NBC Buys Music Drama From ‘Nashville’ Alums, Milo Ventimiglia & Craig Brewer(8/17/18) Former Nashville executive producers Meredith Lavender and Marcie Ulin are returning to the music industry scene with a new drama series project. The duo has teamed with This Is Us star Milo Ventimiglia and Craig Brewer, writer-director of music-themed series Empire and movie Hustle & Flow, for a one-hour series pitch that has landed at NBC with a script commitment plus penalty. The drama hails from Ventimiglia and Russ Cundiff’s DiVide Pictures and 20th Century Fox TV, where Lavender, Ulin and DiVide are under deals.
Written by Lavender and Ulin, the untitled project centers on gifted musician Madison, who fears her life in the music business is over after an epic breakdown on stage goes viral. With a new boldness she teams up with her musical prodigy sisters to form a band that might be more than what they bargained for. Thrust into a world that is far more cutthroat and challenging than they ever imagined, they try to balance their individual ambitions, dreams and secrets while trying to survive the roller coaster that is fame and success.
Lavender and Ulin executive produce with Ventimiglia and Cundiff via DiVide with Brewer, who also attached to direct.
Lavender and Ulin worked on soapy country music drama Nashville for its entire four-season run on ABC, rising to executive producers. Under their 20th TV deal, the duo also recently worked on Fox’s The Gifted. They are repped by CAA and attorney Todd Rubenstein at Barnes Morris.
Ventimiglia has earned two Emmy nominations for lead actor in a drama series for his portrayal of Jack on NBC/20th TV’s praised series This Is Us, which is going into its third season. He’s repped by WME, Management 360 and McKuin Frankel Whitehead.
Brewer is co-executive producer on Fox’s Empire. In features, he most recently co-wrote the screenplay for The Legend of Tarzan, which has grossed more than $356 million worldwide.
Hayden Panettiere and New Boyfriend Brian Hickerson Enjoy a Date Night at Movie Premiere(8/17/18) Hayden Panettiere has found happiness after her breakup.
The Nashville star and her new boyfriend, Brian Hickerson, enjoyed a night out on the town when they went to the Los Angeles premiere for the film Breaking and Exiting. Hayden could hardly contain her joy on their date night, with a source telling E! News, "Hayden was non-stop glowing with excitement. She looked really happy in general, and her and Brian were very cute while sitting together."
Just two weeks ago, news broke of the actress' split from former boxer Wladimir Klitschko, after which she promptly started dating the aspiring actor. But an insider says, "She definitely was not trying to hide the fact that she has a new boyfriend, and it seemed like everyone in her group of friends got along with him as well."
That being said, the source added, "They were not over-the-top affectionate, but everyone could tell they were a couple."
During the screening of the movie, "Her and Brian were sitting with a group of friends in the back of the theatre and she was laughing, smiling together."
Afterwards, the duo and their friends headed over to HYDE Sunset for the film's after party. With Hickerson by her side, Panettiere chatted and posed for pictures with the movie's director, Peter Facinelli, before introducing her beau to other party attendees. The source said, "Hayden was very social and was in a great mood."
Her positive attitude following her breakup from her boyfriend of nine years is no surprise considering the fact that the 28-year-old and her ex split amicably. "Hayden and Wladimir are on great terms and friendly. They are a big part of each other's lives and will continue to be. Hayden is back in Los Angeles and figuring out what's next," a source previously told E! News.
Meanwhile, the insider says her 3-year-old daughter, Kaya, is staying "with her dad and his family in Europe and Florida. They also spend time together as a family with Hayden."
Hayden Panettiere selling home amid Wladimir split rumors(8/9/18) Now that her show “Nashville” has sung its final note, actress Hayden Panettiere is ready to move on. She’s listed her luxury home in Nashville, Tenn., for $1.6 million.
Located in the fancy Green Hills neighborhood, the house was built in 2012 and is relatively modest by celeb standards. Just under 5,000 square feet, it has four bedrooms and five bathrooms. What it lacks in grand spaces it makes up for with a show-stopping interior. Each room is uniquely styled — and could appear right at home on a Hollywood set or a Pinterest board.
According to a recent tour of the house provided by Panettiere, the dining room was designed with the motif of being underwater, topped with a light fixture that looks like a sea urchin. Another highlight is daughter Kaya’s paisley and pink room.
The house has the latest smart features, including iPad-controlled functions and Lutron lighting and audio. There’s also plenty of luxe amenities such as a heated pool and spa, sauna and fitness rooms.
Panettiere appears to be in a period of flux. Her show “Nashville” just aired its finale last month. She’s also rumored to be splitting with her fiance, Ukranian boxer Wladimir Klitschko, who’s Kaya’s father. E! recently reported a sighting of Panettiere with aspiring actor Brian Hickerson around Los Angeles.
“Think there are a lot of changes going on in her life. But I think they’re positive changes. And I think that she’s taking some time,” her mom, Lesley Vogel, told Radar, confirming Panettiere’s split from Klitschko.
Hayden Panettiere splits from boxer fiance(8/3/18) Hayden Panettiere has split from her fiance and baby daddy Wladimir Klitschko, RadarOnline.com can exclusively report.
The Nashville actress’ mother Lesley Vogel confirmed the news in an exclusive interview with Radar.
“Think there are a lot of changes going on in her life. But I think they’re positive changes. And I think that she’s taking some time,” Vogel told Radar.
Vogel also said her daughter, 28, has been taking a “break” from working after her hit show Nashville recently ended after six years.
Amid the split and her show ending, Panettiere has relocated from Nashville to her native Los Angeles, Vogel confirmed.
Panettiere and boxer Klitschko, 42, are still on good terms, and recently took a trip together with their daughter Kaya, 3.
“She just was in Greece with Wlad and her daughter,” Vogel said.
Radar can confirm that fans spotted the former couple together in Greece on July 30.
The co-parents also vacationed together in Barbados earlier this year.
The exes started dating in 2009, and announced their engagement in 2013 — but never tied the knot.
He stood by her through two bouts of rehab for her battle with postpartum depression.
Fortunately, “I think she is in a very good place,” Vogel assured.
9-1-1 Season 2: No Current Plans for Connie Britton to Return(8/2/18) The 9-1-1 crew will have to make due without their trusty call-center maestro Abby Clark. At the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour on Thursday, Fox co-chairman Gary Newman confirmed that there are no current plans for Connie Britton to return in Season 2.
“We love Connie Britton, [but] it was always envisioned to be a one-year role,” Newman told reporters. “So it wasn’t a surprise [that she left]. If Connie expressed interest and had time in the future, I know [exec producer] Ryan [Murphy] would be thrilled to bring her back to the show.”
Britton’s exit was first announced last March when it was revealed that her 9-1-1 contract was only for one season. However, at the time, Murphy remained optimistic that the Nashville and Friday Night Lights vet might return on a guest-star basis.
“We’re in the process of renegotiating her deal so she can come in and do a couple of episodes to keep her character alive,” Murphy told us. “She really loves the cast and crew and she’s very hopeful that that can happen.”
Britton has since signed on to star opposite Eric Bana in the Bravo true-crime anthology Dirty John.
Grey's Anatomy Adds Chris Carmack as 'Ortho God' Ahead of Season 15(7/31/18) Chris Carmack is trading cowboy boots for surgical scrubs: The Nashville actor has signed on to play a Grey’s Anatomy doc in the coming season, TVLine has learned.
Carmack, who just wrapped a six-season run on the country-music series, will recur as an orthopedic surgeon who starts slicing and dicing at Grey Sloan Memorial in Season 15. Though we don’t yet know the character’s name or many details about his life, we can report that he’s known as an “ortho god” and therefore is probably pretty good at his job.
And, because Season 15 is the “Season of Love,” you can probably put good money on the notion that “ortho god” might also be positively divine outside the operating theater, too… like, say, in the bedroom?
In addition to playing Nashville‘s gay country star Will Lexington, Carmack’s TV résumé includes roles on The O.C., Desperate Housewives, Smallville and NCIS.
Carmack’s casting isn’t the only staffing change we’ll see at the hospital this season. As previously reported, Kim Raver will be a series regular when the ABC drama returns on Thursday, Sept. 27.
Nashville Series Finale: When Did Scarlett Meet Her Man? Why No 'Javery' Baby? And More Burning Qs Answered(7/28/18) (tvline.com) What would a show about country music be without a curtain call?
In that spirit, we wanted to follow-up on our coverage of Nashville‘s series finale with some answers for those questions burning a hole in your rhinestone-studded heart. From the frustratingly long wait for an Avery/Juliette reunion to Deacon’s perpetually busted sink, we got the scoop straight from the show’s cast and Powers That Yeehaw.
Read on for some answers regarding:
WHY DID THE SHOW SAVE THE JULIETTE/AVERY REUNION UNTIL THE FINAL FEW MINUTES OF THE FINALE? | Avery and Juliette’s reconciliation this season was hindered onscreen by Ju’s involvement in a cult and offscreen by Hayden Panettiere’s absence in several episodes, but executive producer/co-showrunner Marshall Herskovitz says the Barnes/Barkley family’s story ultimately played out the way he wanted it to. With the caveat that Panettiere’s availability “was contractual and not for me to get into,” the EP says that it was basically time for Juliette to pull herself together: “We didn’t want to end the series with her still being this person whose life is out of control.”
Hence Ju’s journey through The Movement for Coherent Philosophy hell and her subsequent departure from the music biz, all of which prepped her for the romantic resolution fans wanted. “I was mainly just happy that there was a happy ending for them,” Jonathan Jackson tells TVLine, adding that “there were times throughout Season 6 where I didn’t really know” how it would pan out for Cadence’s perpetually stressed parents.
WHY INTRODUCE DEACON’S DAD SO LATE IN THE SERIES’ RUN? | “From the first day I came on the job, I wanted to bring Deacon’s father back,” Herskovitz says. He and co-showrunner Ed Zwick originally planned to bring Gideon into the story in Season 5, but eventually felt that there were too many storylines already in play. When it looked like the same situation would happen in Season 6, “finally we said, ‘We just have to do it.’ It’s too important a storyline, so we shoehorned it in.” He adds that he considers the decision a success. “I’m so grateful that we went for it, because to me, it brings the whole series together — the journey that [Deacon] goes on of forgiveness of himself and his father.”
HOW DID CLARE BOWEN’S REAL-LIFE HUSBAND WIND UP IN THE EPISODE? | The idea for an episode-ending time jump was courtesy of co-executive producer Jesse Zwick, “and within two minutes of him saying that, I said to myself, ‘Oh, well, we have to show Clare and Brandon,'” Herskovitz says. “They had just gotten married.” If musician Brandon Robert Young looks familiar, it’s because he showed up in the series’ third On the Record special. When we point out that the several month jump isn’t much time to meet someone, date and get engaged, Herskovitz good-naturedly tsks. “In the show, they’re not married yet!” he says, laughing.
WHY DIDN’T THE TIME JUMP SHOW JULIETTE AND AVERY’S BABY? | Mainly because the show played it a little fast and loose with exactly how many months had passed between scenes. “It had a lot to do with syncing up where all these people would be in their lives,” Herskovitz says. For instance, Maddie’s move to her own place probably happened weeks after, but Juliette is clearly in her third trimester when Avery comes out to the farm to stay; showing the baby after it was born would’ve stretched the timeline too far for the writers’ tastes.
WHAT HAPPENED TO DEACON AND JESSIE’S ROMANCE? | “To be really honest, what Ed and I have always done in our television work, going all the way back, was to be improvisational about stories and to see what happens,” says Herskovitz, who admits the EPs and writing staff “didn’t know what Jessie was going to be” at first and that the writing staff was divided on whether or not Deke and Jake’s mom should end up together. Despite adoring Kaitlin Doubleday (“We just think she’s a fantastic actress and a great person… She won our hearts.”), Herskovitz says that blackmailing Brad for custody of their son ultimately became Jessie’s main duty in the final season. Still, “I can’t say that there wasn’t a little bit of regret among a bunch of the writers that somehow we couldn’t figure out a way to have [Deacon and Jessie] beat that.”
WHEN WILL DEACON REALIZE THAT HE’S NOT A PLUMBER? | The sink in Deacon’s old house — where Scarlett resides — seemed to need a lot of fixing over the past few seasons, and Deke always took it upon himself to do so… which ultimately led to the fixture needing to be fixed again. “I think that’s part of his character, that stubbornness,” Charles Esten says, lapsing into character as he continues. “I think the answer would be, ‘Why am I going to hire a plumber? He’d just get down there and he won’t fix it, either. He’ll charge me and not fix it. I’ll have to wait and get another appointment. I’m a grown man. I got tools. Plus, I’ve got to get out of Highway 65. Those girls are driving me crazy. My dad’s driving me crazy. By the way, I’m smart enough as a songwriter to know this? Yeah, it’s a metaphor. I can’t fix that other stuff. I’m going to fix this godd–n sink.'” He laughs. “So there’s all that.”
‘Nashville’ Series Finale: Creator Callie Khouri On Emotional Ending, The Big Return & Possible Spinoff(7/26/18) (deadline.com) Nashville tonight wrapped its six-season run — four on ABC and two on CMT — with an eventful finale that featured the return (in a flashback) of the beloved Rayna James (Connie Britton), a happy ending for virtually every character but baddie Brad and a love letter to the city of Nashville.
It was payback time for the final season’s villain, the arrogant label owner Brad (Jeffrey Nordling). With help of Deacon (Charles Esten), Alannah (Rainee Lyleson), the object of Brad’s unwelcome sexual advances in the final season’s #metoo storyline, pulled off a sting operation, getting Brad’s harassment on tape. She, Deacon and Zach (Cameron Scoggins) then used the recording to blackmail Brad into selling his Shiny New Records to Deacon and Zach for a fraction of its value. And Jessie (Kaitlin Doubleday) got full custody of their son Jake.
Meanwhile, Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) sold her Nashville mansion to move to a farm outside the city with Candace, and Avery (Jonathan Jackson) finally found out that he would be a father again. Maddie (Lennon Stella) broke up with Twig while Daphne (Maisy Stella) did not win the singing competition but stayed true to herself, and her mentor Ilse (Ilse DeLange) offered Deacon to write songs together.
In a flash-forward a few months later at the end of the finale, Avery joins (now heavily pregnant) Juliette and Candace on the farm, his band with Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Will (Chris Carmack) is successful, as is Alannah, Daphne signs with Highway 65, Zach and Will get back together, while Scarlett (Clare Bowen) is engaged (!) to a guy, played by Bowen’s real-life husband, Brandon Young.
In the most emotional part of the finale, Deacon has a flashback to his wedding night with Rayna, forgives his father (Ronnie Cox) and invites him on stage where the two are soon joined by the cast and crew of the show, including creator Callie Khouri who thanked the city of Nashville, ends the show with “And may we all have a life that’s good.”
In an interview with Deadline, Khouri, who directed the finale, talks about how Britton’s cameo came to be, who couldn’t make it to the big cast reunion in the final scene, what the future holds for all characters, and why Scarlett and Gunnar did not end up together. She also hints that she already has an idea for a Nashville spinoff series.
DEADLINE: Let’s start with the final scene featuring the show’s cast and crew. Are there any Nashville alumni that you couldn’t get? I didn’t see Oliver Hudson or Aubrey Peeples.
KHOURI: Yeah, Oliver was working, and Aubrey, who played Layla, was working, and there were several people that, it just wouldn’t work in their schedule. But they were with us in spirit, and I was really glad that the people who made it did get to come. It was very emotional.
DEADLINE: How was it reuniting with some actors who hadn’t been on the show in years?
KHOURI: We would be up on stage setting up a shot for Chip and Ronnie’s scenes, and I would look out in the house, and see groups of people sitting there with their arms around each other, and laughing, and it was just one of those moments where you go, “Wow, something really happened in the last six years for all of us,” And to get to all be together at the very end, and finish on that stage was just really satisfying to all of us.
It was a perfect ending to the whole experience, it was like getting to relive the entire show in one day..The fact that we were on the stage of the Ryman, which is really important to all of us who worked on the show, it is our church, and the kind of music that we did, every time we shot there, it was just absolutely incredible.
DEADLINE: Connie Britton was in the Ryman, and the finale also featured the return of her character Rayna. How did that scene come to be?
KHOURI: We made it happen. Obviously Connie was working on another show, 9-1-1, and working on some other stuff too, her son was on spring break, and we just had to figure out how to get it on the day that she could be there. She literally had one day that she could do it. So we just moved everything around in the schedule to make that happen, because it was too important. I was so sure that to finish the show without her would leave on such a wrong note, that it was just impossible.
And I think she, and everyone in the cast, felt that. We all felt like she needed to be there. It would just be some horrible injustice not to get to have that moment with everybody, and she really wanted it, and I think she was really glad she came, Everybody got to hug and kiss on each other, and it was just like old home week, and so, it was really, really beautiful.
DEADLINE: Let’s talk about Deacon.What is in store with him? Will he finally find happiness after Rayna?
KHOURI: Well, we put a scene in there with Ilse DeLange who played Ilse de Witt where she asks him if maybe he’d like to write sometime. So, for me I think, wouldn’t that be great if he found somebody who wasn’t Rayna, but really spoke the same language musically, someone that the girls really liked, and I think the girls really felt like, with the Jessie character, that it was too soon. And even though there was real chemistry between them, I think he felt like, “Oh, I can’t just go off with the first person I meet after Rayna,” And so, I think it was just a little grace note, to say there is life ahead of you. You will go on to love again.
DEADLINE: What about Daphne and Maddie, what happens with them and their careers?
KHOURI: Maddie goes off in a much more pop direction, and I think that she and Daphne will eventually get together and sing again when Daphne’s a little older. But I think both of them want to find out who they are without the other one, which is a really normal thing for sisters to do. And then, I think they’ll come together when Daphne’s older, and maybe find a great career together, because their sound together is not to be matched.
DEADLINE: At the end of the finale, we saw Juliette happily living on a farm and reuniting with Avery. Will she ever return to music or this is it and she’s just content with her new life?
KHAURI :I think what she’ll do is she’ll write. I think she really wants to not be that character with the big shows and all of that. I think she’s going to try to find a much more manageable way of doing that, and that maybe she and Avery would do things together. I think that she is going to get into producing. I think that she is really going to grow up. I think she’s always going to be Juliette, and she’s always going to have that temper, but I think she really went through a transformation. And when you lose everything, then you have to figure out what do you really want.
DEADLINE: When you first started the show, was there an ending you had in mind, and how different is it from where Nashville ended?
KHOURI: No, there wasn’t, because honestly, every step of the way, I just was like, “They’re not going to make a show about Nashville.” I never believed for a second that it was really going to happen. And I was like, “Okay, I’ll write the pilot,” and then I was like, “Okay, well, we’ll get a season out of this thing, but they’re never going to pick us up.” And it just kind of kept going like that. So, I didn’t plan the ending.
DEADLINE: When did you start building towards the ending that we saw?
KHOURI: We started talking about it in season five, because we knew we were going to end, but it wasn’t really until we started working on season six. (Co-showrunner) Marshall (Herskovitz) came in at the beginning of season five, and he was just such a fantastic partner, I just loved his commitment to character, and the show calmed down quite a bit, it was a little more realistic, I guess, in terms of the drama. It wasn’t quite so melodramatic.
So, we wanted to do something that was a nice result for everybody, but that things don’t work out for everybody. It’s not like, “Oh, Scarlett and Gunnar end up together,” and all that, which…I think is really true. I think if the show had gone on for several years, we would’ve had to decide which of our characters really weren’t going to make it in show business because not everybody does. There’s some of the most talented people in the world in Nashville, and people are scratching their heads to this day, going, “How did that not happen, how is that possible that that person didn’t become a huge star?” That’s what happens, and so we would’ve had to make those kind of decisions.
DEADLINE: In the finale, I think all of the main characters did make it.
KHOURI Right, they made it to varying degrees. A lot of them have their moment, but it didn’t mean that that moment was going to last forever, as I’m sure you’re aware. A lot of careers are short bursts of…
DEADLINE: You mentioned Gunnar and Scarlett.This was one of the show’s favorite on-again, off-again couple. Why did you decide that those two should not be together at the end?
KHOURI: Because sometimes the things you really want just don’t happen, and that was one of those things. I think it would’ve been a little too fairy-tale. Tthe person who looks the most like a fairy should not have the fairy-tale ending.
DEADLINE: And the veteran with PTSD, he will be okay, right?
KHOURI: Yeah. And he’ll have years of therapy.
DEADLINE: Nashville has had a close relationship with fans. Are you planning you keep the show alive through fan events or any other ways?
KHOURI: Personally, I’m ready to go with “Nashville 2.0,” I think we have great characters that we could pick it up with, we’ll just see if anybody wants to make it. I love the characters, I love the show, I love the music, and I think it would be a blast to havea new generation.
DEADLINE: Like a Nashville spin-off?
DEADLINE: Do you have anything in the works at all, or just an idea?
KHOURI: I just have an idea. I have other stuff going on, that I haven’t even been able to think about it for a second. I’m just telling you what’s in my head, I don’t know if it’s in anyone else’s head beside mine. (Nashville producer) Lionsgate or somebody would have to make that happen.
DEADLINE: Is there anything more about that idea you can share at this point?
Khouri: Not at this point. I like the multi-generational shows. I just personally love those, and that was one of the things I always loved about Downton Abbey and shows like that, was that you were with people of a lot of different ages, so I don’t know. That’s all.
‘Nashville’ Series Finale: Behind The Surprising Character Return(7/26/18) (deadline.com) After a lot of speculation will she or won’t she, Nashville‘s original leading lady Connie Britton returned to the country music drama for its series finale, reprising her role as the late superstar Rayna James.
In a flashback scene from Rayna and Deacon’s (Chip Esten) wedding night, the two reminded fans why they were Nashville’s golden couple. Deacon had the vision of Rayna just as he was to walk out on stage at the Ryman in the last minutes of the finale where he was joined by his father and almost the entire cast of the series from all six seasons, including Britton.
“Rayna got to do the impossible,” Britton said about returning to Nashville. “She got to come back from the dead. I got to do the most wonderful, which was to go back to my Nashville family and celebrate all the hard work and love and care that went into that show. Being on the Ryman stage, reunited with 6 years of cast and crew, is a moment I’ll cherish and never forget. I am grateful.”
Getting Britton for the finale was not easy, Nashville creator Callie Khouri told Deadline in a finale post-mortem Q&A.
We made it happen,” she said. “Obviously Connie was working on another show, 9-1-1, and working on some other stuff too, her son was on spring break, and we just had to figure out how to get it on the day that she could be there. She literally had one day that she could do it. So we just moved everything around in the schedule to make that happen, because it was too important. I was so sure that to finish the show without her would leave on such a wrong note, that it was just impossible.”
“And I think she, and everyone in the cast, felt that,” Khouri added. “We all felt like she needed to be there. It would just be some horrible injustice not to get to have that moment with everybody, and she really wanted it, and I think she was really glad she came, Everybody got to hug and kiss on each other, and it was just like old home week, and so, it was really, really beautiful.”
Nashville Series Finale: Charles Esten and Connie Britton on That Beautiful Ending(7/26/18) (tvguide.com) Happily ever afters were a dime a dozen in the Nashville series finale, and honestly, we wouldn't have had it any other way!
In the final hour of the show, we got to see Deacon (Charles Esten) finally forgive his father, the girls embark on their own journeys as young artists, Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) and Avery (Jonathan Jackson) reconcile, Scarlett (Clare Bowen) and Gunnar (Sam Palladio) embark on new chapters in their lives, and about a million other lose ends tied up in a nice bow. Perhaps most satisfying of all though, we got to see one final moment between Rayna (Connie Britton) and Deacon!
Rather than give us a dream sequence or some kind of message from beyond, Nashville decided to keep Rayna's return grounded in reality, making it a flashback to her and Deacon's wedding night. The memory of Rayna forgiving Deacon for all that had passed between them — no matter how hard — was exactly what Deacon needed in that moment before going on stage to forgive his father. It was a beautiful tribute not only to Rayna's character, but the relationship between Rayna and Deacon that was such a staple of the show from the very beginning. We even got to see her perform one last time in the final number with the entire cast!
"Rayna got to do the impossible," Connie Britton said of the finale. "She got to come back from the dead. I got to do the most wonderful, which was to go back to my Nashville family and celebrate all the hard work and love and care that went into that show. Being on the Ryman stage, reunited with six years of cast and crew, is a moment I'll cherish and never forget. I am grateful."
To get his thoughts on what it felt like to reunite on that stage one last time, TV Guide also spoke with Charles Esten, who breaks down that touching reunion, all those finale twists and turns and his tenure on the ABC-turned-CMT drama in the interview below!
How do you feel now that Nashville has reached the end of the end?
Charles Esten: Well, I can say that I've been grateful for all the things that offered a sense of closure. The last thing you want to do is walk away and say like, "Oh, we didn't do this. Oh, we should have this. We didn't do that." Those are the things that makes it hard. I mean, in the song that we always sing on the show, "A Life That's Good," one of the phrases is Deacon's line. I always sing this one: "I wanna look back and say I did all that I could." That is a great feeling to be able to say that. This has been a long road, and Deacon has been down this hard, tough road, and honestly just everybody is part of the show that has worked very, very hard. It wasn't always easy. There were difficult times. So you just want to be able to look back and say you did all that you could, and I'm actually feeling that type of closure now. I know that I gave my heart and my soul to this role and did all that I could.
Did it feel like the right way to end it, bringing everyone on stage, even Rayna, to perform one last time?
Esten: The character of Rayna, obviously the whole show was built around her in the early days and her life and her career. And Rayna still looms large and factors into everything. At the very end, that's out of necessity. That's who that character was and how she impacted everybody on our show, especially Deacon. To have not had her there in some form like that that we had would not have felt like closure. It would have felt like well we finished, but not really. Having everybody on that stage, even that moment I found offered a whole lot of warmth and closure. I've been thinking about it a lot and it's such an unusual ending to do it like that, but then again, this has always been an unusual show, and almost in the same way we would have scenes and songs.
It's almost like the whole show is a long concert, and at the end of a long concert, what happens? Everybody comes out on stage and sings the hit... By the time we were done, we were more able to sort of just hug on each other and hug on each others neck and say thank you... So there was a little bit of that that felt great, and getting to be on stage with everybody, and just put your arms around everybody and the crew included. We were very fortunate to get picked up after the ABC years. Not only that [we got] two more years. but to know that the last year was the last year, that was a gift from CMT that I'll always appreciate. It meant the writers could draw it to a close, and it also meant that we could emotionally get there more slowly than just finding out it was done and over.
Was there ever a point early in the show's run where you stepped back and realized, "Wow, we've really got something special here?"
Esten: For me with Nashville, it just kept getting better and better. The script was amazing and, "Oh, it's gonna shoot in Nashville? And oh, Connie Britton's playing Rayna? And oh, T Bone Burnett is doing the music?" It just kept going from strength to strength like that. Then I showed up and saw the level of interest that every single department had in being truthful that the wardrobe would look exactly like. It wasn't a bunch of people wearing cowboy hats with straws coming out of their mouth. We looked like on the set what you look like when you went downtown and walked around through the city. The same thing, the sets were immaculate. Our Bluebird looked exactly like the Bluebird... All the instruments were exactly dead on what they should be. And I just kept going, "This thing is not letting down. It's impressing me more at every turn."
Where it really kicked in, I would say, was when I was watching the first episode because until that point, I hadn't seen — I had seen Connie and I singing together and I knew what I sounded like, and I knew what we sounded like together. I thought, "That's great, we should be good." And then what opened to me was all the other talent all around us. I remember seeing Sam and Clare, or Scarlett and Gunnar sing, "If I didn't Know Better," and I remember watching that going, "This is magical. My character is nowhere near this scene." This Bluebird scene shot with these two incredible voices, these great actors, incredible voices, while this other stuffs going on with Deacon and Teddy (Eric Close) and the whole campaign. There's JD Souther playing Watty White and saying, "You got to hear this." It's a really wonderful thing where you could be in love with your own show. That's when I fully fell for it then.
Charles Esten, Clare Bowen, Maisie Stella, Ronny Cox, Lennon Stella, Nashville
Let's talk about that Rayna scene. I loved that it turned out to be a memory instead of a dream or a hallucination or anything like that. What do you think that moment is for Deacon, and how did it sort of influence his decision about his father?
Esten: Well, I think it served a dual purpose. I think in some sense, Deacon sort of shut down because the mourning process was just almost not trying to remember. If he ever did remember, it was also, "I wasted time. I should've done this, I should've done that. He wasn't able to use Rayna's help in those memories to help him through missing and mourning her. That needed outside help. It needed the girls and Scarlett and Jessie (Kaitlin Doubleday) and Highway 65. Finally, he starts to get there.
And then this other thing happens: his father. And the girls don't understand, they just see this nice grandpa. He's probably just sitting there thinking, "What would Rayna say?" Because Rayna knew all of it. She knew his darkest stuff from the beginning. He knew her stuff about her dad and her mom. And who can talk about forgiveness more than Rayna? How did she do that? "How did she forgive me for what I did to her life? And then, "Oh wait, I remember, and the time I remember is literally the most beautiful time of my life, that moment." So to think that in that one moment, not only does he have this memory of this bit of wisdom and warmth and love that she blessed him with, but also for the rest of his life he can go there too. He can have those memories, those moments like that.
And was it a good piece of closure for Deacon, finally forgiving his dad?
Esten: What I love about this is what we've been exploring is the issue of forgiveness. Deacon came from an abusive, dysfunctional situation that was all caused by the father and his drinking. I love that we got to explore this because Deacon has needed all this forgiveness for so long. From the very beginning, there's a whole lot of "I'm sorry's" coming out of Deacon, and he was given that grace and that forgiveness.
It's one thing to talk about forgiveness for somebody that has completely changed and is now just a sweet old grandpa that plays music. Yes, most people would be able to find their way around to forgiving that man. But then to find out that he's still drinking. He lied about it. What I essentially find out is he's human. This is where you're really testing grace and forgiveness. That is, OK, yes, you're right. He's drinking. He lied about it. Does that mean that he's unforgivable and irredeemable forever and always? But that's the nature of forgiveness and grace is that it's for us as much as it's for them or perhaps more than it's for them. Deacon knew that, without that forgiveness, he has this hard shell about him that his daughters are always going to see and always know. He has no peace in his own heart regarding his father. Forgiveness, in terms of the closure that we were talking about with his father, that feels like closure to me.
What did you think of that little tease at the end with Ilse (Ilse DeLange) saying maybe they'll start to write together? Is that a little seed that they planted that maybe there might still be love in Deacon's future?
Esten: What I actually liked a lot about it was that everything we've been through the last two seasons, or the season and a half, where he sort of slowly opened up with Jessie, it seems to me sort of more realistic like the next one to come along wouldn't be the one. You know what I mean? That would be unlikely. But that person, if they had a good heart and a good caring heart, could help open them back up and help through the pain that brings up armor, [help them] let the armor down a little bit, so that there'd even be a situation where Ilsa could say "I'd love to write with you someday" in a slightly flirtatious way, with a little bit of meaning. And Deacon, instead of going, "Oh, no, I don't think that would be ... I don't know. I gotta go." He'd be like, "Um, yeah, you seem like a really kind person that treated my daughter really well. You're obviously beautiful. You have a gorgeous voice. Yeah, I don't know where this will lead, nobody does, but I would like to write with you." And I like that phrase, because writing with somebody is a special thing in Nashville. So it's a better way than saying, "I'd love to go on a date with you sometime." They're not the same thing. It's the sitting down and sharing of yourself with somebody to write this song.
So I like the nebulous quality behind it. Certainly doesn't mean that they're gonna end up even dating, but it means that Deacon's heart is in a better place. It's more open and more — in some sense more healthy and open and maybe even a little bit brave, not just protecting itself so much, which doesn't get you anywhere in the long run.
What do you think you'll miss most about making this show?
Esten: There's a lot of hard questions, but that's the easiest: It's the people. It's the people that I got to spend time with day in and day out in good times and in bad. In hard dramatic scenes and in funny light scenes. In long days doing concerts on stage and days so cold outside that we'd have to stop because tears were just coming out of your eyes from the hold. And brutally hot days just trying to keep yourself from sweating... Just rain, shine, good times, bad — that crew, that cast is truly special. I'll miss them and take a part of them with me for the rest of my days.
Nashville Finale Recap: Take a Bow(7/26/18) (tvline.com) Every tune has its final chord, Nashies, and now it’s time for ours.
Nashville wraps its six-season run with an episode that is simultaneously satisfying (in that it gives all of the main characters happy, or happy-ish, endings) and frustrating (in that I would’ve liked maybe more than five minutes of Javery domestic bliss). But in retrospect, isn’t that fitting for a series that often made me ridiculously happy, sometimes made me weep and occasionally made me roll my eyes in exasperation?
Before we get to the return of a certain redhead, please allow me a moment to thank you all for reading along all these years. Nashville was one of the first series I covered for TVLine. Knowing that you guys were right there with me when it came to Gunnar’s hair or Scarlett’s hemp necklaces or Juliette’s general lack of character progression prior to Season 4 made it a blast to write about this show. Not exactly sure where I’ll next apply my talent for coming up with country-music-tinged double-entendres, but that’s a problem for another time.
Read on for the highlights of “Beyond the Sunset.”
CLAYBOURNE ON THE ROAD? | Bucky shows up at Deacon’s house in the morning and is practically vibrating with excitement: Since Deke’s Opry appearance, there’s serious interest in a new tour. “Who’s the headliner?” Deacon asks, clueless. “You,” Buck says. Deke scoffs, but Maddie and Daphne are excited for him. Anyway, the whole thing is tabled for a while when Deacon calls Zach — who has ditched the sweatshirt for a suit and is busy with staff at his Zach Welles for Senate 2018 campaign headquarters — and says he’s got an “opportunity” for the guy we all once thought might be gunning to kill Rayna. (We were wrong! It’s cool!)
THE GUYS RECONCILE | Will thinks it’s a good time to try to lure Avery back to their band, so Gunnar puts on his big-boy pants and asks Barkley to return. “What I’ve learned from this whole mess is, I find these girls and I think they’re just going to solve all my problems. But really, it’s time for me to grow out of that,” he says. Um, Avery? Have you not read a single recap I’ve written? I STARTED SUGGESTING THIS IN SEASON 1. #Hailey #NeverForget
Then the boys get into a fun bit of reflection that’s rewarding for long-time viewers. They think back to Avery as we met him, all greasy and lascivious and not-real-nice. Or, as Gunny puts it: “You were a total tool!” (Ha!) “I was insecure!” Avery counters. (Double ha!)
It’s a nice, light moment for Avery, who elsewhere in the episode learns that Juliette is selling her home in Music City and planning to move to a farm half an hour outside town. While she’s nattering on about how she’s going to raise sheep and goats and have a fresh start, Avery’s eyes narrow. “There’s something you’re not telling me,” he says, but she deflects, assuring him that he’ll be able to see Cadence as often as he likes.
AVERY KNOWS | Later, Avery comes into the studio while Hallie is recording. (Side note: It is a tragedy that we didn’t get more of Rhiannon Giddens singing in this show. The woman’s voice is like honey dripped over a piece of sun-warmed amber.) While they’re talking, Avery tells her about Ju’s farm dream, mentioning that his ex-wife’s impulsive actions remind him why he can’t be with her anymore… which prompts Hallie to blurt “She’s pregnant.” Normally, I’d take issue with Avery finding out this way, but we’ve only got about 20 minutes left, so I’ll let it pass.
“How could you keep this from me?” an understandably angry Avery demands when he arrives at Juliette’s immediately after. You’ve gotta give it to our girl: She keeps calm and tries to explain her actions in a way he might understand. “I was going to tell you. I just didn’t want to influence you or how you felt,” she says. “Avery, I love you, but I don’t want to trap you. I want you to come up to me and say that you need me and you want to spend the rest of your life with me, not because you feel like you have to save me or you’re worried about me, but because you’re worried about yourself without me. But you don’t feel that way anymore. And I will survive.” Damn, Avery, I’m about to say all that to her, and she’s not carrying my kid!
NASHVILLE’S NEXT COUNTRY STAR IS… | Nashville’s Next Country Star is down to the Top 3, and Daphne is one of them. (Jenny Leigh and the other guy But Brad gets to pick her finale song, and he chooses a huge, commercial number that she hates because it doesn’t jive with her stripped-down, acoustic aesthetic. Ilse is mad on her behalf, but Brad — shocker! — doesn’t care. “I’m just giving her a chance to sink or swim,” he maintains.
Gideon sends Daphne a good-luck card and necklace, which infuriates Deacon so much that he runs over to the motel and demands that his dad not manipulate his daughter. Gideon says he meant no harm, and explains that he was sober for 28 years but started taking “sips” of booze to calm himself after he lost his home in the storm. But he soon realized he couldn’t control it, and he knew he’d miss out on even more of Deacon and the girls’ lives if he didn’t do something. He promises that he hasn’t had a drink since Daphne found him with the broken glass, and points out that the bottle Deke threw last episode was full and had an intact seal.
“I can’t say I’ll never drink, but I’ll never be the man who hurt you again. And I’ll never hurt those girls,” he vows.
And though Deacon doesn’t love the idea, Daphne invites her granddad to the Nashville’s Next Country Star finale. She performs the song Brad wanted, but does so on acoustic guitar, which infuriates the Shiny New Records label head. Then, she loses the competition to Jenny Leigh. Daph holds it together until she comes off stage, then she cries to her family, who assure her they’re still very proud of her. Ilse swings by to offer her condolences, and… my, my, does Daphne’s coach have a thing for Deacon? Sure seems so by her offer to write with him when he gets back from his tour, which is like the Nashville equivalent of swiping right on Tinder. Deke blushes, and his daughters pick up on it. “I would not be opposed to that!” Daphne says.
#METOO FTW! | Alannah continues her weird flirtation (?) with Brad, even going as far as to head to his hotel room while they’re in Memphis for a gig. “You lured me here with the promise of a party,” she says, noting that he’s the only person there, and isn’t that sketchy? You already know what’s going to happen, so I’ll shorthand it: He is a physically aggressive letch, she pushes him away and has to hit him in order to get him to stop, he says she’ll never work again as she hightails it out of his suite.
Later, Alanna, Zach and Deacon march into Shiny New like they own the place… which they probably will in a few minutes. “Here’s what’s gonna happen, Brad. I am gonna offer you $15 million, and you are going to sell me Shiny New Records before we walk out of here.” Brad balks — the company’s worth a heck of a lot more — but it turns out Alannah recorded him attacking her in the hotel room via her phone’s memo app. PLUS, she’s got all the women he Weinstein’d before — including Jessie and the ones who agreed to settlements — to join her in taking him down. Looks like there’s not a fidget spinner in the world big enough to calm you down now, you porkpie-hat-wearing jackass! Oh, Jessie adds, “And one more thing: You’re gonna grant me full custody of Jake.”
ALL’S TERRIBLE THAT ENDS TERRIBLE | Hope you guys didn’t like Twig, because he’s the one somewhat sympathetic character who gets wholly shafted in this finale. Maddie likes him but doesn’t like-like him, which Scarlett picks up on as the chat. “OK, you listen to me: The only thing you need to do right now is to honor what you’re feeling at the moment,” Scarlett says. No, Maddie, you listen to me: DO NOT TAKE ROMANTIC ADVICE FROM SCARLETT
My cries fall on deaf ears, though, because Mads gives Twig some really nice, professional grade headphones as a sort of consolation prize, because she’s totally breaking up with him. Can you break up with someone you kissed twice? Eh, now Twig is crying and I feel bad and let’s just let this whole storyline go, shall we?
WRAPPING IT UP | As Juliette is packing up her house for the move, she sits down at a keyboard and starts to sing her feelings. And that’s convenient, because now we have a soundtrack for our time jump!
In a montage, we see:
* Daphne sign as a Highway 65 artist
Then we get to Avery pulling up at Juliette’s farm, where she’s pushing Cadence on the swingset. As she turns around, we can see that she’s very pregnant. Avery wastes no time. “Juliette, I need you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. And if you would — ” She interrupts him. “Yes.” They cry. It’s soooo what I wanted to happen… last season. Or even 45 minutes ago. But I guess we get what we get and we don’t get upset.
Then we go to the Ryman, where Deacon is getting ready to go onstage. Scarlett is having a small heart attack about not being able to find her engagement ring (wha??), but then she does. Turns out, Scar is getting hitched to one of the other musicians we’ve never met before! (Side note: That’s actually Clare Bowen’s real-life husband, Brandon Robert Young.) Gideon also is there to tell Deacon he’s proud of him, but things still aren’t OK between them, and his presence sends Deke back into the dressing room to freak out and have a minute to himself.
Except, he’s not alone. As he flashes back to his wedding night with Rayna, suddenly we’re in their bedroom and he asks, “Is this real?” She appears in a nightie and silky robe, all glowy from their nuptials. “You bet your sweet ass this is real, honey,” she teases him, “and I’ve got the ring to prove it.” They talk about how they’ve had their hard times in the past, and they’ll probably hurt each other in the future, but they have to choose each other because they’re made for each other. “And I’m going to love you forever. Forever and ever,” she says, smiling. “Amen,” he adds. You know what they say: The couple that quotes Randy Travis lyrics together stays together… until a stupid complication from a stupid car crash sends one to the Grand Ole Opry in the sky. (Side note: Wouldn’t that Rayna reveal have had a lot more power if CMT hadn’t spoiled it in a teaser weeks ago?)
‘IS THIS REAL?’ | With that memory fresh in his mind, Deacon takes the stage at the Ryman and invites Gideon to join him. “This man has been a profound influence on my life and my music,” he tells the crowd as a stunned Gideon gets suited up with a guitar. As the band launches into “A Life That’s Good,” Deke suddenly remembers something. “Oh Dad, I’m sorry. Do you know this song?” he whispers. “Son, I know all your songs,” Gideon answers simply, and OK, Nashville, you got me a little teary with that one.
As they sing, they’re joined by Maddie and Daphne, then Scarlett, Gunnar, Avery, Juliette, Will and Rayna. WAIT WHAT? Yup. As the scene dissolves into real life, the fourth wall is broken and the show’s entire cast — including some actors we haven’t seen in a very long time — as well as the crew join in the singing.
And then it’s over, y’all.
Nashville EP, Stars Take Us Inside That Unexpected Series Finale Ending(7/26/18) (tvline.com) Well yeehaw, the gang’s all here!
On Thursday, Nashville ended its series finale with a fourth-wall-breaking bit that brought back most of the actors who’d appeared on the show over the past six seasons — including Connie Britton, who left the drama when Rayna died in Season 5.
After Deacon brought out Gideon to join him onstage at Ryman Auditorium, they began to play “A Life That’s Good.” Slowly, they were joined by Daphne, Maddie and Scarlett, then Avery, Will and Juliette. The scene moved from fiction to reality as Britton stepped out to stand next to Charles Esten, and the shot pulled back to show the TV cameras filming it all.
Then more people — including current and former cast members, as well as series creator Callie Khouri — then came out to sing along, while “Celebrating 6 wonderful years” popped up on the bottom of the screen, turning the fictional moment into a real one.
Marshall Herskovitz tells TVLine that he and fellow co-showrunner Ed Zwick got the idea for the atypical ending from the way they closed their early 2000s ABC drama Once & Again. “What we felt at that time, and what we felt at this time, was that it’s a way to really thank the audience. It’s a way to connect with the audience more directly,” he says.
Read on for more scoop from Herskovitz and series stars Charles Esten and Jonathan Jackson about how the unexpected ending came together.
LOOSE LIPS SINK ‘SHIPS | The sequence took a day to shoot, and it was filmed in front of a live audience that was sworn to secrecy. “We just expected it to leak” to the public, Herskovitz says, laughing as he notes that it didn’t.
WHO WAS THERE… | Sharp-eyed, longtime viewers likely noticed some familiar faces onstage with Britton, Esten & Co. Former cast members Eric Close, Will Chase, Judith Hoag, Nick Jandl, Sylvia Jeffries, Kyle Dean Massey, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson and Melvin Ray Kearney II returned for the farewell, as did country star/occasional guest star Pam Tillis and former executive music producer Buddy Miller. “It went pretty deep. We were really thrilled. Obviously, we didn’t have money to pay everybody what they should have been paid to do that,” Herskovitz notes. “The fact that they were all willing and excited to come back was just really gratifying.”
… AND WHO WASN’T | Among the missing: Aubrey Peeples and Oliver Hudson, both of whom couldn’t make the filming because of scheduling conflicts, per a rep for the show.
A FINALE THAT’S GOOD | “So many people were there,” says Jonathan Jackson, marveling as he recalls singing “A Life That’s Good” with the cast and crew. “It was just beautiful.” Esten echos his co-star. “It was an emotional day,” says the actor, who shot the flashback with Britton around the same time. “I thought the length of this long show and all that we’ve been through with these cast members does have a parallel to this long concert performance. So when it’s done, let’s bring everybody out,” he added. “To end there with everybody coming out on that stage is so deeply meaningful, especially when we started on the Opry, we lived in The Bluebird, and we ended at the Ryman.” He chuckles. “There’s some mathematical perfection there that I really get attached to.”
Connie Britton On Her Initial Reluctance to Return for Nashville Series Finale: 'Rayna's Gone'(7/26/18) (tvline.com) Nashville fans, you have series creator Callie Khouri to thank for that sweet flashback to Deacon and Rayna’s wedding night in Thursday’s series finale.
Because, without her powers of persuasion, it might not have happened.
“I’ll admit: When they first called me to do it, I was a little against it,” former series star Connie Britton tells TVLine exclusively, chuckling. “Because I thought, ‘Rayna’s gone. And I don’t like the idea of having her come back as a ghost.”
(For those of you who might’ve dropped out of the series but come back for its swan song, a brief catch-up: Britton exited the show in Season 5 after Rayna died from complications from a car accident. Everyone cried.)
But after talking with Khouri about other, more corporeal ways that the First Lady of Country Music might show up to see off the CMT drama, Britton says she was amenable. “Then she told me about the last moment on the Ryman stage, and I loved the idea of that. So we made it happen,” the actress adds, recalling that she shot both the flashback and the group sing over the course of two days.
Scheduling her visit “was a little bit tough,” says executive producer and co-showrunner Marshall Herskovitz, noting that Britton stars in Bravo’s upcoming true-crime anthology series Dirty John, which is currently in production. But “it worked out, and everybody was thrilled.”
During the episode, Rayna appears as Deacon recalls a conversation that took place in their bedroom the evening they wed. She reminds him that even though they are flawed individuals who have hurt each other in the past, “we must choose each other. And I choose you exactly the way you are.” The memory helps him come to terms with his conflicted feelings for his father, Gideon, whom he invites onstage to play “A Life That’s Good” at the end of the hour. (For a full recap of the episode, go here.)
“It was just… remembering ‘How do you forgive me? How do you go on with it, knowing that it can all fall apart?'” series star Charles Esten says. “But most of all, it was just my friend Connie again, and I think you’ll agree that that stage wouldn’t have been the same — especially the gang’s all here [number] — without Connie.”
Britton says that playing opposite Esten “felt just like picking up right where we’d left off.” She laughs. “It just all came back.”
Everything except the double-take she had to do upon seeing how much her TV daughters, Lennon and Maisy Stella, had grown since she saw them last.
“They’re like different people! I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, where are my little girls?” she says, laughing. “But they’re both doing great, and I will always love them.”
Lennon and Maisy Stella: “We Lucked Out”(7/26/18) (cmt.com) It’s hard to believe Nashville is almost over, and no one is feeling the bittersweet emotions harder than Lennon and Maisy Stella.
The sibling stars have practically grown up on the show, right before our very eyes, with poise, grace and gratitude you don’t often see these days in young Hollywood.
Maybe that’s because this is young Nashville.
Lennon, who plays Maddie Jaymes, has a gorgeous home in Music City and plans to remain here to continue her solo career as an artist. After all, how could she leave? So many of the elder Stella’s career memories began in this city and on a show built around its community. And having those memories and years of growth on film to relive over and over again is truly a blessing to her.
“It definitely has its parts that can be difficult, like having all of your awkward phases documented,” the 18-year-old star joked to CMT.com during a recent chat.
“But it was so special. Being surrounded by the people on this show—everyone is amazing. It was the most amazing group of humans to be raised by.”
And that’s not necessarily the gospel truth for every TV show out there. “We lucked out. It’s really rare — that’s not always how it goes,” she said. “Obviously, having your sister with you is just the dream. We’re just so close, so it was the perfect setup. Having Maisy there was the best part of it, and having all that documented, you and your sister from age 8 and 12 to 14 and 18 is incredible.”
And Maisy shares the same feelings as her sister about her time as a cast member, maybe to a deeper extent because her time on Nashville began at an even earlier age.
“I really don’t even remember filming season one because I was so young!” the younger Stella said with a laugh. “As far as I can remember, my everyday life was on that show. But I never even felt like I was working, it was just so fun for me.”
For Maisy, being a part of the Nashville cast was a gift in that she was a part of a show not afraid to push the envelope and show how locals welcome and celebrate love and acceptance no matter who their neighbors are.
“I was very proud to be a part of something that touches on subjects that are controversial, I guess you could say. Especially in the South … to have a show about Nashville, which is wonderful but still is a part of the South, and have an openly gay character on a show, amongst other things. That’s the thing that makes me feel most accomplished.”
Although gifted with immeasurable talent as a singer, instrumentalist and songwriter just like her sister (the Stella family genes are strong, y’all,) Maisy revealed some exciting, albeit slightly surprising news during our chat.
“I’m going to stick to acting,” she said.
As she continues to spread her wings, there’s no doubt she will soar. But don’t worry, as her sister works hard on her debut album, Maisy will be right there, holding her hand and cheering her on just as Lennon has always done for her all these years.
“Lennon is my favorite person in the entire world, I live for her, I love her so much. She is my best friend,” Maisy said. “We have never gone through any stage of jealousy or competition or anything like that at all. Words cannot describe how excited I am that she’s doing music.”
We can’t wait to watch the next chapter unfold for these two loving sisters. Catch them on tonight’s (July 26) finale of Nashville, 9 p.m. ET on CMT.
Nashville: Will Rayna Return for the Series Finale? Charles Esten Weighs In!(7/25/18) Nashville's series finale is right around the corner, and one thing fans are desperate to know is whether Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) will, in fact, appear in the show's final episode.
Promos for the final stretch of episodes as well as the series finale have hinted that she might be back, with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot of a very blurry but very familiar figure in a scene with Deacon (Charles Esten). The theories about this potential return range from dream to hallucination to flashback to miraculous resurrection (but we wouldn't hold our breath on that last one if we were you), so we took the question to Esten himself to see what he could tease from that scene we all want answers about.
"There's a nebulous shot that people aren't sure what it is, but they think they know. They may, they may not," Esten told TV Guide. "I will just say that in some form or another, there would be no way to have a final episode that didn't in some form have Rayna looming somewhere through the storyline... It would have felt like, 'Well, we finished, but not really.'"
With a show built entirely around Rayna, her loved ones and her place in her industry, it's truly impossible to imagine the show coming to a close without paying tribute to her in some way. How Nashville will end up doing that is something fans will have to watch and find out for themselves!
Nashville's series finale airs Thursday, July 26 at 9/8c on CMT.
Charles Esten Sets a Guinness World Record(7/25/18) (cmt.com) What a week it’s been — and going to be — for Charles Esten.
We’ve stockpiled our tissues in preparation for Thursday night’s (July 26) series finale of Nashville, and there’s no doubt Esten will have a few himself on the big night.
But there have been several highlights for Esten in the last few days on his national press tour; the most intriguing one being the Guinness World Record he just set for “Most Consecutive Weeks to Release an Original Digital Single by a Music Act.”
Remember back in July of 2016 when he made the announcement promising to release a new single every Friday for “as long as it made sense?” Well, it made sense for an entire year, with his campaign, #EverySingleFriday, yielding 54 original songs that he either wrote or co-wrote, recorded and released each Friday.
“At the time, I had no idea how it would go, or how long I could do it,” he said in a statement.
“I only knew that, as a lifelong songwriter, through my role as Deacon Claybourne on Nashville, I had found my way to Music City and, surrounded by some of the most talented people in the world, I was feeling a level of inspiration and creativity that needed a different kind of outlet that an EP or album.”
And now that outlet has landed him a Guinness World Record title.
Esten stopped by NBC’s Today show to perform “Halfway Home,” a song from his record-setting campaign. He’ll headline a sold-out show tonight (July 25) at New York’s City Winery before taking the stage for another sold-out show at City Winery in Boston on Thursday (July 26).
But if you think he’s gonna miss his final turn as Deacon tomorrow night, think again. Esten plans to pause his concert, tune into CMT and watch the series finale with fans and friends.
See, you need those tissues already don’t you?
The final episode of Nashville starring Esten airs tomorrow night at 10 p.m. ET on CMT.
Can Nashville's Deacon Ever Forgive His Dad? Charles Esten, EP Preview Finale(7/23/18) (tvline.com) The bourbon bottle Deacon found in his father’s car and hurled into the night in last week’s Nashville might as well have been a bomb, for all the damage it will cause for the Claybourne men.
The revelation that Gideon, Deacon’s estranged father and fellow recovering alcoholic, is drinking again pretty much obliterates the men’s fledgling reconciliation, showrunner Marshall Herskovitz tells TVLine.
“Going into the finale, Deacon feels that there’s just been too many betrayals,” the EP previews. “He cannot trust this man, and he’s got to draw boundaries, otherwise, he’s going to get drawn into it in some way.”
It’s a rough place for Deacon to be as the CMT series kicks off its swan song (Thursday, 9/8c), but Herskovitz says series star Charles Esten outright asked for it.
“I remember talking about this with Chip before the season started, and I remember Chip saying to me, ‘Whatever you do, just put me in the worst position possible,'” Herskovitz says, laughing. “That’s what I just love about him as an actor. It’s like, just make it as hard as you can make it for Deacon, because he knew that’s where the gold is.”
If that’s the case, consider the series-ender dipped in 24 karats of misery: While Deke is wrestling with his inability to forgive his father’s transgressions, an opportunity he thought impossible presents itself. Before the end of the hour, Deacon is caught up in reflecting on his life, which longtime viewers know hasn’t always been as good as his hit song suggests.
“For me, the anger is so intense because of how hard [Deacon] held off not letting him back into [his] life, to keep the wound protected,” Esten says. “Not only that, but it’s just a reminder of the frailty” that reminds Deacon he might someday lose his sobriety, as well.
Still, the actor previews, “It’s really satisfying to me that the arc finishes not just in the last episode, but maybe in the last line of the last scene of the last episode… If we’re talking about solving the Rubik’s cube of who he is and his deepest hurts, and trying to overcome them, I think we just did that.”
Nashville: New Series Finale Trailer Hints at Happy Ending for [Spoiler](7/19/18) (Video) Well, at least one Nashville couple appears to finish off the series’ run hand-in-hand. Literally.
In a preview released Thursday for the CMT drama’s final episode, Will and former love Zach seem to have reunited, walking together on the bridge where Deacon proposed to Rayna. Good luck, you lovebirds!
Elsewhere in the promo for the July 26 hour (9/8c), we see Zach informing Brad that he’s going to buy Shiny New Records (while Deacon and Alannah look on), Daphne anxiously awaiting the outcome of Nashville’s Next Country Star and Avery angrily asking Juliette, “How could you keep this from me?”… so, we’re guessing he’s somehow found out about the baby. (Her answer to that question, by the way, is no surprise but will break the heart of longtime viewers.)
Then there’s that shot, first teased in a previous promo, that sure makes it look like a certain redhead will appear in the drama’s swan song. “Is this real?” Deacon asks. Welp, we’ll find out soon!
Nashville Recap: Deacon, Freakin'(7/19/18) (tvline.com) If you thought Nashville was going to let one of its central characters glide into the series finale with a happy ending already in place… what show have you been watching all these years?
Gideon’s assurances that he hasn’t had a drink in decades were shaky enough after Daphne found an empty bottle under his bed in last week’s episode. But they lose all credence at the end of this week’s, when Deacon confirms that his dad fell off the wagon and attempted to hide it.
It’s a blow to their newly patched-together relationship, which wasn’t on very sturdy ground to start with. And it’s not necessarily the kind of transgression that Deke will be willing to forgive in time for next week’s series finale.
Elsewhere in Music City, Steve Earle gives Gunnar tips on living his best musical life, Avery and Juliette have a medical scare and Sean’s wife tries to gift him to Scarlett like a puppy with a bow tied around its furry little neck.
Read on for the highlights of “I Don’t Want to Lose You Yet.”
JU DROPS THE MIC | A crowd of reporters have set up on Juliette’s lawn in response to the she said/cult said story. While she watches them with a concerned look on her face, Ju notices that Cadence’s forehead is a little warm. “You feelin’ all right?” Mama Barnes says, and the tone of her voice (and the fact that she is on a primetime soap) cause me to write this in my notes: IF YOU MAKE THE KID TERMINALLY SICK, I WILL END YOU. Related: I’m not sure whom, exactly, I will end, but the sentiment is true.)
Later, during a hangout with Hallie, Juliette confesses that she’s pregnant. Hallie urges her friend to tell Avery, but Juliette says no, because he’d immediately return to her side “but that doesn’t mean he could ever love me again.”
Despite her sadness over Avery, Juliette presses forward with a press conference held in front of The Movement for Coherent Philosophy’s headquarters. Rosa and her son are there to lend credence to Ju’s claims, and Ms. Barnes decrees that she will continue to dog the cult until it stops being evil. “Darius, wherever you are, you can’t hide from me,” she says into the cameras. “I will never stop fighting until justice prevails.” Oh, and one more thing: Juliette announces she’s retiring from the music business and dropping out of public life. Kthanxbye!
MEDICAL DRAMA | That evening, Cadence is definitely running a temperature. When Ju calls, Avery comes over to see what’s up. He mentions that he saw the press conference and he’s surprised by her plans to eschew fame. Juliette mentions that she bought a farm outside of Nashville and that’s a big part of her dream… and Cadence’s fever reaches 104, and all conversation is tabled as they bundle her up in a blanket and rush her to the hospital.
Ju and Avery rush their kid into the emergency room as though her leg got bitten off by a crocodile or something. I totally understand being freaked out when your child is sick, and 104 is a very high fever, but maybe pour on some chill so the toddler doesn’t start losing her stuff, ok? The diagnosis: pneumonia and dehydration, which is a huge relief to both parents as they cuddle by Cadence’s bedside. “Why is it when you smile at me that way, all the pain disappears?” Avery asks his ex-wife… who still doesn’t think it’s time to tell him about the little Barkley brewing in her belly.
THE SAGE ON THE STAGE | Gunnar is having a creative dry spell, so Will tries to cheer him up by getting him a ticket to Steve Earle’s show at The Bluebird. (Side note: Will’s comment about Fleetwood Mac all sleeping together and that hug that he holds too long are making me even sadder that the show never explored an attraction between him and Gunnar. What? It could have worked, people!)
Earle superfan Gunnar happily attends and is psyched when the musical legend sees him in the crowd and asks to meet him afterward. When Gunnar details his current problems writing and performing, Earle suggests “Try not being Gunnar Scott for a change.” Two things: 1) In a show where, at one point or another, almost every character has been advised to just be themselves in order to better their situation/stay true to their art, Gunny is told to do the exact opposite; and 2) If this is leading to a Chris Gaines-type situation, I AM HERE FOR IT.
TWIG SNAPS | Twig calls to apologize to Maddie, who’s still not over the fact that he was lying for Jonah the whole time she dated the pop star. Her rebuke leads Twig to reconsider his life, which manifests as him refusing to go on the European tour and quitting as Jonah’s… entourage member #1? I don’t even know. “I think I’m done being your bitch,” he tells Bieber Jonah, which leads the pop star to call Twig a loser. Nice. Later, Twig finds Maddie to tell her what happened, and they kiss.
WHAT’S YOUR DEAL, GIRL? | Avery and Alannah meet for the 400th time to have a conversation where he promises that they’ll work out and she says they’re doomed. Then, she and Brad meet up and have strangely flirty banter in which he talks about them falling for each other but admits “I cannot figure you out.” That makes two of us, Brad. The next day, Alannah has an intriguing coffee date with Deacon (we’re not privy to most of what’s discussed).
FOR WHOSE BENEFIT? | When Scarlett learns the therapy ranch is going to have to close because it’s behind on payments, she immediately starts planning a benefit concert to save the place. Sean agrees to perform, and, oh dear, looks like his wife Angela is now a card-carrying member of the Sunshine Does, Indeed, Shine Out of Scarlett O’Connor’s Behind Society. “You just waltzed right in, and suddenly, now he has something to live for,” Angela tells her. Instead of being mad about it, Sean’s wife seems resigned. “Sometimes, I think he’d be better off with you,” she says, a notion which Scarlett soundly rejects.
Know who doesn’t reject that idea? Sean, who has a MEANINGFUL performance with Scar at the benefit, then declares his admiration backstage. “You broke into my heart like some kind of wild angel. You busted open the doors,” he says, which is rather poetic for a man who barely strung together three-word sentences when we first met him, no? Scarlett gently but firmly shuts him down, saying that she’s just a novelty that seems better because he hasn’t seen her at her worst. Meanwhile, Angela is “the one who kept you alive,” Scar points out, adding that he’d better run after his wife if he’s going to have any shot at keeping their family together. He kisses her, and she doesn’t pull away, then adds, “I’ll never forget you” before running after Angela. Scarlett cries a little. Also, WOW way to treat your wife, who has been through hell with you, like a consolation prize, dude.
On stage, Gunnar debuts his new stage self… which looks a lot like his old stage self, except wearing a ripped vest and about 15 percent more hair product. He plays an electric guitar, which is new for him, and sings a song called (wait for it) “Goin’ Electric.” Will is on backup, the song is about 30 seconds long and I’m fairly certain Gunny cut loose harder and better during Dangerous Brother Jason’s arc in Season 1. But still, I’m proud of you, you little bleached-tipped toaster!
UNDER THE INFLUENCE | Deacon, Gideon, Maddie and Daphne attend the benefit, too. But afterwards, Daphne doesn’t want to ride with her grandfather but won’t say why. What we know but Deke does not: Daph caught her grandpa out of sorts with an empty bourbon bottle earlier, and he asked her not to tell her dad.
With a furious, knowing look on his face, Deacon grabs the keys from his father and searches the car, uncovering a full bottle of booze. He hurls it away, starting to cry very angry tears. “I knew it. I knew you were lying to me,” Deacon says, ordering his dad to get out of his sight and seemingly severing their tenuous ties: “You’re not my father.”
Nashville Recap: Cult Classic(7/12/18) (tvline.com) Nashville‘s Darius finally drops the nice-guru act in this week’s episode, and though there are far bigger questions that need resolution before the show’s impending finale — will Juliette and Avery get back together? Is Emily harboring secret resentment about being Cadence’s glorified nanny? How does Gunnar get his hair so high? — it’s refreshing to see some of Ms. Barnes’ pluck return as she guns to take down her former emotional mentor.
Sigh. Two episodes left after this one, y’all. Can you believe it?
Read on for the highlights of “For the Sake of the Song.”
GIDEON’S SECRET | Daphne has turned into the breakout It Girl of Nashville’s Next Country Star, which makes everyone in her family happy. Gideon starts reminiscing about how he taught Deacon how to play guitar, but Deke bristles at the whitewashed memory: As he recalls it, there was a lot of yelling, drinking and throwing of lit cigarettes involved in the instruction.
When Deacon is back at his old place to fix the sink, he remarks on how Gideon has started disappearing for long stretches of the day. Scarlett thinks maybe her grandfather is drinking again — and honestly, I’m surprised Deacon hasn’t leapt to that conclusion himself by this point. Newly suspicious, Deke trails Gideon the next day… and finds him playing music with some old friends in one of the guys’ garages.
After he gets caught playing spy, the guys invite him to stay and watch. Deacon is almost overcome by Gideon’s rendition of a sweet waltz; with tears in his eyes, he beats a hasty retreat back to the house. That night, he confronts his father about his polished version of their shared history. “You did everything you could to take away my music,” Deke yells, and he only gets angrier when Gideon counters that he only pushed his son to do better out of love. “The only think your love ever gave me was a habit that ruined my life… You do not get to take credit for my music. It is mine.”
Later, the older man reminds Deacon that his own father drank and beat him, and adds that he’s proud of Deke for breaking the cycle. “We were both victims of circumstance, but you rose above it,” he says. Still, acknowledging how raw his son’s feelings are, Gideon says he’ll sit out Deacon’s appearance at a Bluebird Café songwriters circle that evening.
But when Scarlett learns that Gideon isn’t there, she secretly gets him to attend, so he’s in the audience when Deacon tells the audience that his favorite song was the song his dad first taught him, “Little Bitty Ditty.” And as Deke strums, he has good memories of Gideon teaching him the tune. By the end of the episode, they’re playing together and laughing in Deke’s home studio.
And that’s why it’s such a gut-punch when Daphne, who’s in Gideon’s room dropping off clean laundry, finds an empty bourbon bottle under the bed.
THE CASE OF THE EX | Jonah’s ex, Mia, crashes a pajama party he throws at his house, and Twig is tasked with distracting Maddie long enough for the pop star to get his old girlfriend to leave. But when Twig’s love for Mads/guilty conscience gets the better of him, he confesses what’s really going on, leading to Maddie finding Jonah making out in the laundry room with Mia. Maddie leaves in tears, probably not thinking much about how she and Twig were thisclose to kissing before he told her the truth.
YOU MESS WITH THE BARNES, YOU GET THE HORNS | When Juliette arrives for a meeting with Darius… wait, hold up. Juliette, why are you entering the literal headquarters of the cult that locked you away from your family, and you’re doing so alone?! Without Glenn or your lawyers or, heck, Hallie to witness what’s going on? Oy. Even Darius knows that’s stupid, which is why he has Laura in the room to “document” the visit.
At first, Darius is his usual, avuncular self, apologizing that his team in Bolivia was “concerned but overly cautious” and that’s why they treated Juliette like a prisoner. “Don’t give me that crap,” Ju replies. “Your team does only what you say.” She adds that she wants justice for “people who fell for your charade, people like me.” And that’s when Laura scurries from the room and Darius shows his true self for the first time.
In very menacing fashion, the Movement for Coherent Philosophy head reminds her that she signed a non-disclosure agreement the moment she left for the South American country, and if she speaks to the press about what happened, “the movement will sue you for every penny you’re worth,” he details. “You will have nothing. Your family will have nothing. So yes, it’s over.”
I love Juliette for how she completely disregards his threats and talks to a national newspaper, which results in a front-page story. “Have you ever heard the expression, ‘Don’t poke the bear?'” Glenn frets. “Have you ever heard the expression, ‘Don’t threaten Juliette Barnes?'” she throws back at him.
It seems like a win… until Inside Edition runs a story about Juliette demanding special treatment and lashing out verbally and physically while she was away.
WHO’S ZOOMIN’ WHO? | Alannah starts to realize that Jessie’s warnings about Brad were really well founded — she even learns that he’s paid settlements to six former employees — but she still starts acting all coquettish around him and I seriously don’t know if she’s playing him or struggling to understand where the boundaries are or what but guess what, girl? Your storyline is getting the two-sentence treatment this week.
Charles Esten Joins TNT Thriller Tell Me Your Secrets(7/10/18) With Nashville nearing the end of its six-season run, star Charles Esten has booked its followup series gig — a season-long recurring role on TNT’s upcoming thriller drama Tell Me Your Secrets (fka Deadlier Than The Male).
Tell Me Your Secrets, which is toplined by Lily Rabe, Amy Brenneman and Hamish Linklater, marks Esten’s first major acting commitment since Nashville, whose series finale airs later this month on CMT.
Created and written by Harriet Warner, Tell Me Your Secrets, produced by Bruna Papandrea’s Made Up Stories and Turner’s Studio T, is described as an intense, morally complex thriller. It revolves around a trio of characters, each with a mysterious and troubling past: Emma (Rabe) is a young woman who once looked into the eyes of a dangerous killer, John (Linklater) is a former serial predator desperate to find redemption, and Mary (Brenneman) is a grieving mother obsessed with finding her missing daughter. As each of them is pushed to the edge, the truth about their pasts and motives grows ever murkier, blurring the lines between victim and perpetrator.
Esten will play Saul Barlow, a grieving father who has coped with the disappearance of his daughter by walking away from materialism and trying to move on from the loss. This has severely strained his relationship with his wife (Brenneman), who refuses to give up the search.
For six seasons, four on ABC and two on CMT, Esten played the male lead, Deacon Claybourne, on country music drama series Nashville. His TV series credits also include Enlightened and Big Love. Esten is repped by Stone Manners Salners.
Nashville Recap : Too Brittle, Too Late?(7/5/18) (tvline.com) Despite the fact that The Movement for Coherent Philosophy is a manipulative cult that detains people against their will, I’ll say this for it: It seems to have had at lease some positive influence in the life of Ms. Juliette Barnes.
(Still, cults = bad. Don’t @ me.)
The Juliette that returned to Music City in last week’s Nashville is calm. She’s centered. She’s sad, of course — after all, it’s hard to stay chipper after watching the love of your life macking on Tinky Winky — but she’s reasonable. And, as we learn in this week’s episode, she’s pretty resigned to the fact that Avery is most likely done with her for good.
And would Ju have been able to achieve this inner equilibrium without the assistance of Darius’ sham psychology therapy? Maybe not, she admits to Hallie during this week’s episode. “How can something be so helpful and so harmful at the same time?” she asks.
While I’m having a very hard time accepting the way Juliette and Avery handle her return in terms of how it affects Cadence, I’m happy they’re at least back in the same zip code. Where there’s even a flicker of love, there’s hope, right? And a fetus. Can’t forget about the fetus.
Read on for the highlights of “Strong Enough to Bend.”
I GOT A NEW ATTITUDE | Based on the fuchsia frottage she walked in on last week, I expect Juliette to go nuclear on Avery once Alannah climbs off. But she’s much less fiery than I expected her as she softly says, “I didn’t mean… It’s fine. I just needed to see the baby,” while her ex-husband chases his new lady toward the front door. There’s a very awkward meeting between the two women, then a highly spun-out Avery promises he’ll call Alannah in a little while. “You don’t have to,” she says. “I want to,” he maintains.
He finds Juliette staring at Cadence, asleep in her bed. “All the times my mama woke me up in the middle of the night just to say she was sorry,” she muses sadly, turning down Avery’s offer to rouse their kiddo. Exhausted, Juliette says she’ll stay somewhere else and sort things out with him the next day.
That’s how she ends up at Hallie’s, lamenting everything that’s happened. “Avery knew it was going to be a disaster. Why didn’t I?” Ju wonders. “Because they were helping you?” Hallie answers gently. But all the understanding in the world isn’t likely to change one awful reality: “Avery. I’ve lost him,” Juliette says, sounding rather final.
MUSICAL PARENTING | The next day, Avery watches as Juliette reunites with their daughter. (Side note: When Cadence kisses her mama on the lips, I DIE FROM THE CUTENESS.) What’s less cute: the conversation that the little girl’s folks have after she goes down for a nap. “I can’t do this anymore, following you around, picking up the pieces, waiting for the next disaster to happen,” Avery tells Juliette. “You really didn’t give me any choice.” She quietly agrees with him but doesn’t at any point mention their baby growing in her uterus; if I had to guess, I’d say it’s because this newly enlightened Juliette wants him to stay with her out of love, not obligation. Which is noble and all, but we only have a handful of episodes left, kids! Get to reuniting!
After Alannah is Distant and Unreachable Emo Girl for a while, she finally tells Avery that “I can’t be the one that breaks up your family.” He counters very definitely that “I’m not taking her back.” Later, as Avery moves out of the house, Juliette pleads with him to “Please keep talking to me.” He says he’ll try. And here’s the part where I wonder why Avery, who is so concerned about the effect Juliette’s absence has had on their daughter, is so quick to decamp once she’s back. Has this child ever had both of her parents in the same home for more than a few weeks at a time?
A VOICE OF REASON | “Get professional help, or I’m out,” Scarlett tells Sean, and because she’s come to her senses a bit, she is allotted more than one sentence in this week’s recap. Let’s back up. After a call from Sean’s wife, Scarlett forces him to go to the Veterans’ Administration Hospital with her to try and get some help for his PTSD. But after waiting for hours without seeing anyone, he balks, spitting “I’m not your project” at Scar. He later stops by her house and apologizes, pointing out that she has taken such an interest in him because of his musical background, and clearly, “The person who needs to be back on stage is you.” She scoffs, but by the end of the hour, she’s jotting a few things down in her notebook of lyrics.
GRANDPA GOES A STEP TOO FAR | Despite inviting Gideon to stay with him and his family, Deacon bristles at his dad’s jovial manner with Daphne and Maddie. And Deke loses his damn mind when Gideon suggests that some of the younger man’s memories of his abusive behavior don’t exactly line up with the truth. After an admittedly scary explosion at Gideon while Daph is around, Deke swings by an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to confess that his anger at his father is like his “armor.” He tells the group, “People that he hurt aren’t here to speak now. If I forgive him, then there’s no one left to be witness to what he’s done to them… and to me.” But he also tearfully acknowledges that if he doesn’t let go of his hatred, “then I’m the broken one.”
Also of note in Deacon’s world: He and Jessie run into each other in the grocery store and do that thing where they offer thanks for what each did for the other. Then she kisses him and they part. Oh, and Brad seems to have dropped the custody suit, so mission accomplished, right?
Later, at the house, Deacon tells his dad that he’s “trying.” Gideon understands. “I appreciate that, son,” he says.
A STAR IS FORLORN | Brad tells Daphne her Nashville’s Next Star vote totals are dropping and suspects it’s because she’s “hiding” behind her guitar during performances. He tasks Ilse, her coach, with helping her connect with an audience. Daphne freaks out, walks out of rehearsal and skips the next one before realizing that Ilse doesn’t mean “be sexy” she just means “be human.” So at the next show’s taping, Daph puts down her instrument before performing a great tune called “Without Warning,” essentially doing exactly what Brad asked. It’s a hit with the audience.
Final Nashville Soundtrack Arrives July 27(7/3/18) (cmt.com) The Music of Nashville, Season 6 Volume 2 will showcase originals by members of the beloved cast as well as contributions by Grammy winners Rhiannon Giddens and Maren Morris.
Arriving July 27, it is the final Nashville soundtrack to be released.
The compilation is made up of 16 performances that embody the personal and artistic growth of each character beloved by Nashies everywhere.
Several cast members lent their voices to both the recording and songwriting credits, blending their on-screen roles and their off-screen talents.
Giddens sings “Let Love In,” an original she co-wrote with Dirk Powell. Chris Carmack sings “My Turn,” an original co-written by Morris and Chris Gelbuda. Charles Esten performs his original, “Itty Bitty Ditty.”
Clare Bowen and her husband Brandon Young co-wrote the opener, “When You Came Along,” with cast mate, Jake Etheridge.
Sam Palladio sings “Going Electric,” a song he co-wrote with Trent Dabbs and Jabe Beyer. Lennon Stella co-wrote “Without Warning,” a song performed by her sister Maisy Stella, and sings “A Little Fire,” a song she co-wrote with Sarah Buxton and Kate York.
The album closes with an all-sing of the series’ signature song, “A Life That’s Good,” by Ashley Monroe and Sarah Siskind.
Here is the complete track listing and songwriter information for The Music of Nashville, Season 6 Volume 2:
1. “When You Came Along” by Clare Bowen, Jake Etheridge
2. “The Giver” by Jonathan Jackson
3. “Let Love In” by Rhiannon Giddens
4. “Sorry Now” by Rainee Blake
5. “Go” by Rainee Blake, Chris Carmack, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio
6. “Without Warning” by Maisy Stella
7. “Love Goes On” by Ilse DeLange
8. “I’ll Waltz You Home” by Ronny Cox
9. “Going Electric” by Sam Palladio
10. “Bring Me An Angel” by Jake Etheridge
11. “Little Fire” by Lennon Stella
12. “Itty Bitty Ditty” by Charles Esten
13. “My Turn” by Chris Carmack
14. “Love Can Hold It All” by Lennon Stella, Maisy Stella
15. “Free” by Hayden Panettiere
16. “A Life That’s Good” by Nashville Cast
Nashville Recap: Aghast From the Past(6/28/18) (tvline.com) This week’s Nashville is mostly about Deacon’s father showing up in town, which is important and resonant and elicits some very fine performances from Charles Esten and Ronny Cox. I promise, we’ll talk about that a lot in a moment.
But did you see Avery’s face (!) when Juliette (!!) returned from Club Hell to find him disrobing Alannah (!!!) on the couch?!?
Read on for the highlights of “The House That Built Me.”
NOPE, NOPE, NOPE | It’s fitting that I’m going to continue my tradition of giving Scarlett very little attention in this recap, because she continues her ridiculous/borderline dangerous obsession with pushing PTSD victim Sean too far — only this time it’s about spending time with his family and it ends with him holed up in a bathroom with a gun after learning about a friend’s suicide… which still isn’t a wake-up call that maybe Scar should call in a professional. Instead, she chatters at him about how nice the breeze feels on his face and later smiles at his wife when he seems to come around a little. Where is that horse center boss that used to yell at Scarlett every episode? I could use a tag-team partner here, and that woman was SCARY.
#ALANNAHTOO | While Will, Avery and Gunnar bemoan the fact that they’re getting bumped off bills thanks to Alannah’s absence, the purple-haired one is getting all excited about the prospect of opening for The Lumineers on tour. And Brad is full of promises like that… until she makes it clear, after a night of near-Weinsteining on his part, that she’s not interested in any hanky-panky. All of a sudden, the opening gig for The Lumineers is off, and she’s irked. That’s when Avery suggests that maybe they should write songs together… a choice that doesn’t sit well with Gunnar and Will.
Nashville Recap Season 6 Episode 12
THE GINS OF THE FATHER | I know I have given Deacon a hard time here about his vest choices in the past, but he looks very nice as he wears one while getting ready to play a live radio gig at a nearby college. (Daphne and Maddie, however, tease him mercilessly about it.) At the show, Deke plays “Like New,” which we heard in Seasons 2 and 4, and I like it a lot. An old man watches from the back of the auditorium and approaches while Deacon is signing autographs after the performance. The man wants to get coffee or something, but Deke seizes up, grabs his guitar and his girls, and leaves. “Who is that?” Maddie wonders. “No one,” Deacon huffs.
Of course, it is someone worth mentioning: Deacon’s father, who was a mean drunk and left Deke, his mother and Beverly when Deacon was about 17. Maddie feels like her dad should give his father an opportunity to state his case; though Deacon grumbles that he’s not interested, he somehow winds up at the old man’s motel, wondering what he wants.
The gist of it is that Gideon Claybourne lost his home in Corpus Christi, Texas, during Hurricane Harvey, and he’s looking to settle down somewhere new. He’s not asking for anything from Deacon, but Gideon does want his kid to know that he’s stopped drinking. Deacon is unmoved, remembering his pop as a physically abusive person on whom Deacon once had to pull a shotgun. “I understand that’s how you see it,” Gideon says, sadly. “That’s how we see it, because that’s how it was!” Deacon replies.
DADDY’S HOME | When Deacon tells his daughters about Gideon’s arrival, they can’t understand why he’s allowing his own father to be essentially homeless. But when he snaps a little at them, they stop asking. That doesn’t mean, however, that Maddie heeds his words. So she visits her grandpa and brings him to Highway 65, where he tells Deacon why he left all those years ago: “You were becoming me, and whatever else I did, I wasn’t gonna let that happen.” Deacon scoffs angrily. “Yeah, well, it did anyway,” he says. But Gideon gets choked up as he disagrees, saying that if they were that similar, his son wouldn’t have all of the success he’s had or “all these people who love you.”
Next thing we know, Deacon brings Gideon home, surprising Maddie and Daphne. “Girls, this is your grandfather,” he says, a little warily but a lot less mad than earlier in the hour. Daphne hugs the older man.
THE RECKONING | Now, back to that thing I mentioned earlier. Avery and Alannah write a song together, and they’re so into how cute they are as they recite the lyrics that I would do just about anything to stop their schmoopy Dr. Seuss bit. But then Alannah climbs on Avery and starts wiggling, and then they’re kissing…but it comes to a quick stop as he glances past her torso… then the look of horror that crosses Avery’s face as he hastily tugs down Alannah’s shirt is DELICIOUS. It shall sustain me for quite some time.
Because Juliette has arrived home after escaping The Movement for Coherent F—kery, only to find her husband making out with one of Jem’s Holograms, and she is not pleased.
Kelli O’Hara & Will Chase To Tame Broadway’s ‘Kiss Me, Kate’(6/28/18) Nashville‘s Will Chase and Tony-winner Kelli O’Hara will take on Kiss Me, Kate in a new Roundabout Theatre Broadway production set for next year. Roundabout’s Todd Haimes, Artistic Director/CEO, made the announcement today.
Kiss Me, Kate will begin preview performances at Studio 54 on Broadway on Thursday, February 14, 2019 and opens officially on Thursday, March 14, 2019. The limited engagement runs through Sunday, June 2, 2019.
Chase will play “Petruchio/Fred Graham” to O’Hara’s “Kate/Lilli Vanessi.” The musical, with book by Sam and Bella Spewack and music and lyrics by Cole Porter, will be directed by by eight-time Tony nominee and Roundabout’s Associate Artistic Director Scott Ellis.
Additional cast members will be announced soon.
Warren Carlyle will choreograph, with music direction by Paul Gemignani. The creative team includes David Rockwell (Sets), Jeff Mahshie (Costumes), Donald Holder (Lighting), Brian Ronan (Sound) and David Brian Brown (Hair & Wig design).
Tony-winner O’Hara (2015, The King & I) appeared in the Roundabout’s 2006 revival of The Pajama Game opposite Harry Connick Jr. Chase returns to Roundabout following his Tony nominated role in 2012 revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. In 2016, O’Hara and Chase starred in a sold-out benefit concert reading of Kiss Me, Kate directed by Scott Ellis.
O’Hara’s other stage credits include The Bridges of Madison County and South Pacific, with TV credits including Showtime’s Master of Sex, Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and CBS’ Blue Bloods.
Chase can be seen on HBO’s Sharp Objects and YouTube Red’s Impulse, and most recently appeared on FX’s American Crime Story: The Assassination Of Gianni Versace, Netflix’s Stranger Things and HBO’s The Deuce. He’s probably best known as country star Luke Wheeler on ABC’s Nashville.
Kiss Me, Kate, based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, features such Porter classics as “Too Darn Hot,” “So In Love” and “Always True To You In My Fashion.”
Nashville Recap: Juliette Is Finally Back! But Does Her Return Come Too Late?(6/22/18) (tvline.com) Remember when Nashville‘s Avery was crying and pleading with Juliette to leave her Bolivian cult facility, but it really seemed like she’d been brainwashed into staying? Turns out, all it took to flip her switch was a little human-rights infringement and an unplanned pregnancy. Easy-peasy!
Don’t get me wrong; I’m more than happy that this week’s episode gives us no sign of the Juliette-bot we saw the last time we visited The Movement for Coherent Philosophy’s South American outpost. But shouldn’t there have been some explanation for how Ms. Barnes snapped back to being her feisty self after months as the cult’s passionless plaything? Like, did that overworked “volunteer” faint in the yard and all of a sudden Ju was like, “You know what? I am being totally railroaded by this Dr. Phil-wannabe and his stupid, pseudo-psychological BS. And while we’re on the topic, why does everyone in this place wear ill-fitting sweaters?”
Or, as the CMT drama continues its slow slide to the series finale, maybe I should just light a candle at the altar of St. Reba in thanks for the fact that Ju manages to escape the movement’s clutches in the most unbelievable way possible. Because Alannah is on a mission, y’all, and Ju can’t get back to Music City quick enough for my tastes.
Read on for the highlights of “No Place That Far.”
ME TIME IS OVER | Juliette is working outside at the center when a woman toiling nearby passes out. The fainter has worked at 12-hour shift without a break, Ju huffs at a staffer looking on with very little interest, and she wasn’t allowed to take a break. The staffer parrots some line about how all of the “volunteers” choose how long they work, but Juliette says she’ll take it up with Darius when he returns.
So she does. And, as usual, the movement’s founder says all the right things, including promising her that he’ll deal with anyone who threatens the well-being of his little community. This mollifies her a little bit, but she makes it very clear: “I’m gonna help make things right, and then I’m going home.”
That earns her a visit the next day from Bill and Sharon, two of Darius’ henchmen, who are handling Juliette now that Darius has once again gone traveling. She comes at them hard, spitting threats and raising her voice, which gives them all the ammunition they need to treat her like she’s a threat to the community. They lock her in a room until her “agitated state” abates, with a soldier posted outside the door until she has a “chance to calm down.” An irate Juliette also gets a constant companion/minder named Rosa (played by Mia Maestro, who’ll always be Alias‘ Nadia Santos to me!), who’s ostensibly there to make sure that Juliette isn’t a danger to herself.
DIGGING IN DEEPER | The next day, Sharon and Bill cite Juliette’s “erratic behavior, baseless accusations [and] physical threats” as reasons why they held the country star against her will. I mean, have you met her? That’s just a normal Tuesday morning in the ol’ Barnes/Barkley household. The pair is holding Juliette’s passport, which they tell her she’ll get back once she figures out why she’s so angry. Or, they’ll tie her up. “Are you ready to accept help, Juliette?” they ask with their simpering, gaslighting, extremely punchable faces.
Back in her room/jail cell, Juliette lashes out at Rosa, saying the woman has lost all self-respect and dignity. This makes Rosa cry, which in turn makes Juliette’s antennae twitch. But when Ju wonders what dirt the movement has on Rosa, her minder tells her to hush up. “You’ll make it worse,” she whisper-shouts.
In the middle of the night, Juliette wakes up and barfs. Rosa comes in to see what’s the matter, and Juliette tearfully tells her she’s pregnant — and that her medical work-up she apparently received when she arrived in Bolivia didn’t catch it because it was too early in her first trimester. Though Rosa is skeptical, she slips out and returns with a pregnancy test that turns out positive.
THE GREAT ESCAPE | Concrete proof of the lil’ Barkley growing in her belly seems to galvanize Juliette, but Rosa refuses to help her escape. Turns out, the woman has a good reason: She has a son on the compound somewhere, but he was taken from her by the cult’s Powers That Be and he’s on lockdown. “I’m not allowed to see him,” she cries to Juliette, adding that fighting is futile: “The only thing you can do in this place is submit.”
That gives Ju an idea: She fakes a breakthrough — and total acquiescence — so that Sharon and Bill will back off a bit. Then she, along with a reluctant and scared Rosa, retrieve her passport and her file from the main office. (There’s a complicated sequence of events to get there; all you really need to know is that they’re successful.) Just before she scoots, Juliette says they’re going to grab Rosa’s son and go together, but the other woman says no. “I’ll come back for you,” Ju promises, and when Rosa says she won’t, Ju retorts, “You don’t know me.” Then they hug and Juliette runs.
Even though she’s in the middle of nowhere, Bolivia, a van happens by. “Por favor, aeropuerto!” Ju cries, and the driver is like, “OK!” And you know what? I want her back in Music City so badly, I’M JUST GOING TO GO WITH IT.
Side note: Is it me, or was this whole Ju-in-a-cult plot awfully light on the terrible details? Maybe I’ve just watched too much Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, but I expected to see some true horrors at the movement’s stronghold: members cleaning toilets with their toothbrushes and reporting on each other, that kind of thing. After so much build-up, the cult seemed more like an especially strict boarding school than any kind of real threat to our resident spunky blonde, no?
CRAZY IN LOVE | Anywhoodle, back at home, Will is attempting to mediate between Gunnar (“Of all the girls in Nashville, you had to pick her!) and Avery (“You said it was over”) when Alannah walks in and promptly walks out. Avery finds her and apologizes a lot, and she suggests that maybe she should leave the band. When he protests, she’s all, “Um, Brad approached me?” Translation: She’s basically already made up her mind. “No matter what happens with the band, it doesn’t have to change this,” Avery promises, stroking her hair. “But could it?” I reply.
In case you’re worried about Gunnar and Avery, they have a beer together and make up, with Avery alerting his bandmate that Alannah is probably going to leave. “I guess I’ve gotta go back to singing the high, girly parts again,” Gunny says. (Ha!) Avery admits that it still feels like he’s cheating on Juliette, but that he’s scared by how much he likes Alannah. I get it, Avery: I’m scared by how much you like Alannah, too.
Eventually, even though Jessie gives Alannah a friendly warning to stay away from Brad, the purple-haired chanteuse signs with Shiny New Records. Then she drinks a little too much at her signing celebration and calls Avery to inform him that she is Seriously Messed Up. “If you saw it all, you’d never want to be with me,” she sob-talks into the phone, and Avery, you need to RUN because it is FAR TOO SOON FOR THIS INSANITY. She leaves the call on a vaguely troubling note, so OF COURSE Avery hustles over to her apartment, where OF COURSE she’s a hot mess who insists that he shouldn’t have come but is secretly pleased that he did. (Side note: That last observation is not based on any of Rainee Blake’s acting choices and is instead informed by my knowledge of me/every girl I knew circa sophomore year of college. And junior year.) (OK and senior year.)
But Avery is used to faaaaaaaaaaaaaar more terrible behavior than this, and he calmly tells her that he’s not scared off by her messiness. “Maybe we can be messes together,” she says.
TWIG SNAPS | Maddie plays Twig a song she wrote. He mixes it for her and she loves it. Then Twig confesses that he likes her, and he tries to kiss her, but she backs away and things become incredibly awkward between them. By the end of the episode, they’re on the path to being friends again — but she doesn’t know that Jonah never actually broke up with Mia. Oh yeah, and Twig has been covering for him this whole time…
Nashville Sneak Peek: Juliette's Back! Has She Finally Come to Her Senses?(6/20/18) (Video) Nashville‘s Darius really should’ve learned by now: Don’t try to get between Juliette Barnes and something she really, really wants.
Yes, we’re finally getting an update on Cadence’s mom and what she’s been up to these past few episodes. It looks like an extended stay at The Movement for Coherent Philosophy’s Bolivian retreat center has helped Ju remember who she is and how much she likes ordering people around, as evidenced by this exclusive sneak peek of Thursday’s installment (CMT, 9/8c).
The hour checks in with Avery’s ex/current/who knows? wife, whom we last saw calmly informing her partner that she was going to stay at the South American facility for as long as it took for her to get her life in order. Seems like some of her spunk is back now. In the video above, Juliette complains about something troubling she witnessed at the center, Darius worries that her anger will distract her from her “journey.” Nonsense, she says. “I’m going to help make things right.” And then?
Nashville Recap: An Inconvenient Truth(6/15/18) (tvline.com) If you’ve read these Nashville recaps for a while now, you’ll understand that what I’m about to say is more painful than any other admission I’ve ever made to you good Nashie folk:
I… [whispers] I think Gunnar is in the right in this week’s episode.
I KNOW. What is happening? I have never, ever agreed with any Gunnar thought, romantic choice or hairdo in the show’s entire six-season run. Can we attribute this anomaly to almost-end-of-series nostalgia? A human growth hormone high? Misplaced grief over Juliette’s several-episodes-and-counting absence?
Who knows? It’s a turvy-topsy world when I’m yelling at Avery and thinking Gunnar makes some good points, but here we are.
Read on for the highlights of “Two Sparrows in a Hurricane.” There are a lot of all-caps. I apologize in advance.
MOURNING STAR | Daphne’s time on Brad’s country-music reality competition begins, and they’re barely done with the first day before Brad is leaning on Daphne to write a song about her dead mom. It’ll help her be a real artist, he argues, while conveniently leaving out the fact that the strong Rayna Jaymes connection will certainly drive up ratings for his series.
So Daph writes a sweet, sad tune called “Crashing Memories,” even though Deacon is adamant that his younger daughter not be pushed into exploiting her grief for the cameras. And when she performs it on stage during the taping of the show, it’s a huge success: standing ovation, and a “yes” from all three judges, including Brad. But as soon as Daph comes off stage, she’s sobbing into Deacon and Maddie’s arms. Oh, honey.
OVER AND OVER AGAIN | The most space I’m giving Scarlett’s storyline this week is a (n admittedly long)sentence, because she pushes PTSD-suffering Sean into playing another open mic, even though he says he doesn’t want to, and then he performs and it’s great but it causes him to kiss her and then have a breakdown about the horrors he faced while in the military and even though the episode ends with him smiling and saying he’s going to continue to sing, WHAT IS YOUR PATHOLOGICAL NEED TO KEEP FLICKING AT THIS FRAGILE VASE OF A MAN, SCAR?
SOMETIMES, GOLIATH WINS | Jessie’s new attack dog of a lawyer says she can win the custody battle against Brad, but it’s going to take money and it’s going to require Jake to testify. Deacon quickly volunteers the cash — after all, he’s all wrapped up in this, too — but Jessie refuses to make her son take the stand. Then she has about three breakdowns about what a mess her life is, ultimately deciding not to fight her ex in case she loses and therefore loses Jake altogether. So she and Deacon sadly agree to part ways, both of them crying after it’s over. (But is it really over? It’s probably not really over.)
AVERY, ALONE | Gunnar apologizes to Avery for coming after him in the previous episode, and Avery doesn’t mind at all. Of course, he tells his friend, he’d never go after a woman Gunnar was so openly into. And if you think things are kind of weird at practice — “Does this whole band need to go to couples’ therapy or what?” observes Will, who’s there to check out a new song — Alannah’s like, “Hold my six-string.”
After rebuffing — probably for the last time — Gunnar’s romantic overtures, she hightails it to Avery’s place, where he’s feeling a little lonely. They have a drink before setting out for the evening’s show, and that’s when she gives a big monologue that on the surface is all about seizing opportunities but in the subtext is basically take my clothes off NOW. They kiss. I’m a little disappointed in how quickly Avery is being taken in by this low-key manic pixie dream girl, given how easily he called Juliette on her ish back in the day, but maybe he’s rusty? Anyway, they’re kissing, and kissing, and even more kissing in the parking lot near the venue… and that’s where Gunnar sees them and seethes.
But Avery and Alannah don’t know that Gunny witnessed their nookie. So as the pair are eye-shtupping each other from across the stage during the gig that night, Gunnar does the most baller thing I’ve ever seen him do: He stops playing the drums IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAMN SONG, Y’ALL and leaves. I love that he’s like, “You can take my girl, but you shall never take my crowd-pleasing beats!”
In the dressing room afterward, Avery says he never thought of the consequences of their actions. Then Alannah launches into some talk about how women always have to consider consequences of their decisions regarding men, which is true but somehow also insufferable in the way that she twists it to mean that she thinks Avery is worth whatever trouble Gunny throws her way. “I’m sorry if that was a mistake,” she adds.
Next time we see Yoko, she’s taking a meeting with Brad, who promises her a solo album, tour and fat advance check, and she’s not saying no…
Nashville Midseason Premiere Recap: Never Give All the Heart(6/8/18) (tvline.com) Nashville‘s Alannah, I see you. And not in the life-affirming, loving way.
More in the “Stop messing with an already screwed-up situation” way. The “Juliette may be outta town on the most ill-advised of walkabouts, but that doesn’t mean you can move your Manic Panic jars into Avery’s bathroom just yet” way. The (and I can’t believe I, of all people, am saying this, but…) “Stop breaking Gunnar’s heart because, good Lord, can’t you see he’s the softest of all possible soft boys and you are going to reduce him to smithereens?” way.
Yep, the CMT drama is back to finish out its final season, and I. Have. Feelings.
Read on for the highlights of “Pick Yourself Up.”
HEARTBROKEN | Right after Will is rushed to the hospital after collapsing during The Chew performance in New York, his doctor informs a worried Avery, Gunnar and Alannah that their bandmate is suffering from a heart infection. “Are any of you aware that he was using needles, injecting steroids?” the physician asks, and I scream “HIPAA violation!” at the screen, to no avail. Avery and Alannah are shocked to hear that Gunnar knew. And Gunnar is so mad that he yells at Will when they visit the next morning, saying that he’s been “stupid” about putting himself at so much risk. Will jokes and apologizes, but he looks rough.
Will’s doctor tells him to take it easy, saying that he might need surgery, because there’s “something ambiguous on your mitral valve.” He also nixes the idea of playing shows anytime soon, a fact that Will blatantly ignores when the band is given the opportunity to fill in for Lady Antebellum at the upcoming Music City Music Festival.
Several people in Nashville are relieved to hear that Will is OK. These include Scarlett, who brings him healthy food and urges him to write songs while he’s laid up, and Zach, who surprises his ex with a home visit. Though things between the two of them start off rather icy, at least on Will’s part, it’s clear Zach still cares for him, and they’re kinda flirty by the time Zach takes off. (His mention that he and Hot Mark broke up might have something to do with it?)
By the end of the episode, Will has eaten a banana and written a song. Progress? Yeah, I think it’s progress.
JESSIE’S MESS | Deacon can’t apologize enough for how he inserted himself into the Jessie-Brad-Jake situation, and even though Jessie understands why her boyfriend roughed up her ex a little, she can’t help but acknowledge that it’s “going to make things a lot worse.” Deacon mentions that, in addition to wanting Brad to lay off Jake, the incident made him flash back to the way his own father treated him, which was not great.
Like he promised, Brad sues Jessie for full custody of their son. And when a lawyer informs Deke and his lady that his past brushes with the law (drunk and disorderly charges, violence, etc.) kinda support Brad’s claim, Deacon thinks the only option is for them to break up so Jessie can say Jake is in no danger from him being around. Thing is, neither of them want that. So they both tear up a little and vow to fight Maitland… though they have no idea what that will look like or how they’ll win.
HAIR OF THE DOG, MADS? | Maddie spends much of Jonah’s “birthday week” knocking back booze with him and his friends while Twig stares at her longingly. Things Mads does not know: a) That Jonah’s ex, Mia, has been texting him on the regular, and b) how to cover up a hangover. When she comes down to breakfast and nearly barfs into her bacon, Deacon immediately orders her upstairs so he can yell at her. She’s 18, he angrily points out, and the daughter of an alcoholic — what the heck was she thinking?! She screams back that she’s an adult. “Not in this house, you’re not!” Deke counters. Her response? “Then maybe I should move out!”
They’re both crying as he calms down and explains that alcohol was the reason that he lost so many years with Rayna and with her; he doesn’t want his daughter to repeat his mistakes, especially if her genetics make her more susceptible to addiction. She promises to be “careful,” and he seems to be OK with that. Meanwhile, I’m ready to sit on this child’s chest until she quits exhibiting any signs of reverting to Season 4 Mads. Get comfy, Maddie, because I can wait as long as it takes…
Ultimately, Maddie agrees to spend a few nights at Scarlett’s, just to see how living on her own might feel. But when she sees how upset Daphne is at the prospect of her big sis moving out, Maddie decides to stay put.
ALANNAH’S ANGLE | Alannah isn’t doing great at hiding her growing attraction to Avery, but he’s so distracted by Juliette’s continued absence that he doesn’t notice. Meanwhile, Gunnar has noticed how his ladyfriend doesn’t ever want to stay the night — just spitballing here, Gunny, but maybe that’s because both of you seem to take off only the barest minimum of clothing before you hit the sack? — and he has to badger her into wanting to go out for a proper date with him.
One night, Alannah goes directly from making the guitar with two necks (what? After six years of recapping this show, I’m getting desperate for sex euphemisms) at Gunnar’s to swinging by Avery’s for a little talking, drinking and dancing it out. Avery seems happy just to have a conversation partner who’s not likely to decamp to Bolivia in the middle of their chat; they both fall asleep in the living room, and he thanks her the next morning for the support.
But when Gunnar sees tabloid photos of his woman sneaking out of his bandmate’s house in the morning — during the aforementioned date, no less! — he loses it. He rushes to the studio and says he’s going to take Avery down, but it’s Gunnar, so of COURSE that isn’t going to happen. The saddest part, I think, is that Gunny is less angry that Alannah might have slept with Avery and more angry that she didn’t bolt out of his house as soon as possible like a scared rabbit. “Did you cuddle?!” Gunnar yells. Aw, guys, Gunnar just wants someone to be his Big Spoon. May I humbly nominate Will? He’s got a broad chest, strong arms and a medical order that is tantamount to bedrest. Plus, he and Gunnar did kiss that one time…
Nashville Trailer: [Spoiler] Is Pregnant, and... Is That Who We Hope It Is?(6/7/18) (Video) Look, we’re not saying that the blurry, vaguely female figure Deacon sees in this trailer for the final episodes of Nashville is Rayna.
But we also can’t confirm that it isn’t.
And while it’s unlikely that Connie Britton will return for the CMT series’ swan song, Deke sure looks at someone in the new video and incredulously asks, “Is this real?”
But that’s not the biggest bombshell from the promo, released Wednesday ahead of the drama’s return on Thursday (9/8c). We’ve got two reasons to celebrate in the back half of the season: Juliette is finally aware that the Movement for Coherent Philosophy is a cult holding her against her will (!), and she’s pregnant (!!).
Knowing that Cadence’s little sibling is growing in her belly seems to give Ms. Barnes the extra fire she needs to liberate herself. Because, as she tells Rosa, a new character played by Alias alum Mia Maestro, “I’m not goin’ down without a fight.”
Ju’s renewed fighting spirit comes at precisely the right time, too; as we see elsewhere in the video — and as previous trailers have hinted — Avery and Alannah are deep into the canoodling stage of their flirtation, and Gunnar is not amused.
Meanwhile, Brad looks like he might just be the creator of a #MeToo situation, Maddie threatens to move out, Will’s bill of health is not so clean, and Deacon’s father Gideon (played by St. Elsewhere vet Ronny Cox) arrives in town, much to Deke’s dismay.
Nashville: Will's Collapse Will Have Life-Changing Consequences(6/6/18) Nashville's midseason finale ended on a terrifying cliffhanger, with Will's (Chris Carmack) life hanging in the balance.
When The Last Highways found out they were going to perform on The Chew, but only be playing songs Alannah (Rainee Blake) was lead on, Will started to work overtime in order to regain the spotlight. Due to his previous steroid use, this was bad news bears for his heart. Will had what appeared to be a heart attack on stage, collapsing mid-performance. Oh yeah, and it all happened on live TV. Yikes!
"I think it's fair to say that he survives because people have seen promos and all that," showrunner Marshall Herskovitz tells TV Guide. "But it does have an impact on his life."
Collapsing in front of a live audience will no doubt have an effect on his career (that video has "viral" written all over it), but it will also have lasting effects on his health and the way he lives his life.
Luckily, he's got some seriously devoted bandmates and friends there to pick him back up after his fall.
"These are people who love each other very much, and I think they pull together," Herskovitz says. "In spite of all the drama that's going on in that band, I think they care very much about Will, and I think that's part of the storyline moving forward — how they deal with someone who has a significant health issue."
Nashville returns for its final run of episodes Thursday, June 7 at 9/8c on CMT.
Nashville Stars, Olympian Lindsey Vonn, Johnny Knoxville Are Presenters at 2018 CMT Music Awards(6/4/18) The 2018 CMT Music Awards has assembled an a-list cast of celebrity presenters. Little Big Town hosts Wednesday’s (June 6) event live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena at 8 p.m. ET.
Representing the artist community are Lauren Alaina, Leon Bridges, Luke Combs, RaeLynn, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland and Backstreet Boys.
CMT stars Cody Alan, Katie Cook and Nashville’s Kaitlin Doubleday and Lennon and Maisy Stella will also present awards.
iHeartRadio’s Bobby Bones, NHRA drag racer Courtney Force, Mudbound and Country Strong actor Garrett Hedlund, the Today show’s Hoda Kotb, Action Point’s Johnny Knoxville, The Joel McHale Show’s Joel McHale, This Is Us actress Chrissy Metz, P.K. Subban from the Nashville Predators and Olympian Lindsey Vonn round out the night’s cast of celebrity presenters.
Carrie Underwood is the record-holder for the most CMT Music Award wins with 17 trophies. Underwood, Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line lead the nominees with four nominations each.
Voting to determine the winners in each category for the CMT Music Awards closes at the end of the day Monday (June 4) at CMT.com. On the morning of the show, Blake Shelton and Hoda Kotb will announce the five finalists for video of the year live on Today from Shelton’s Ole Red bar in Nashville.
And for those who want to be there on Wednesday, tickets and a limited number of VIP experiences are available through Ticketmaster and CID, respectively.
Luke Combs and Texas soul singer Leon Bridges will film the next CMT Crossroads live in downtown Nashville on the night before the 2018 CMT Music Awards. Fans are invited to attend the Crossroads concert, which kicks off Tuesday (June 5) at 8:30 p.m. CT on the corner of 5th and Demonbreun. Arrive early to secure a good spot because the event is standing room only, first-come, first-served. The concert special premieres June 28 at 10 p.m. ET.
Join the conversation by following @CMT on Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #CMTawards and liking the CMT Music Awards on Facebook.
Lennon and Maisy's Viral Video Turns 6(5/29/18) (Video) Six years later and we still can't get enough of Lennon and Maisy.
Back in 2012, the sisterly duo caught the attention of fans around the world with their rendition of Robyn's hit song "Call Your Girlfriend."
Perhaps it was their signature voices. Or maybe it was their unique use of two butter tubs. Whatever the case may be, fans couldn't say enough good things about the pair. And now, it's time to celebrate a big anniversary.
"Six years ago today," Lennon and Maisy wrote on Twitter with a screengrab of their viral content. "This video completely changed our lives, THANK YOU."
So what exactly have these two been up to? We're so glad you asked.
In addition to starring on CMT's hit series Nashville, the pair released a children's book called In the Waves. They've also walked in fashion shows and collaborated with Pottery Barn Teen for an exclusive furniture collection.
But perhaps there first love remains music and acting.
Whether performing on the small screen or big stages, these two have continued to follow their dreams and delight fans of all ages. And perhaps the best is yet to come!
The final episodes of Nashville premiere June 7 only on CMT.
New Nashville Video: Juliette Takes On the Cult, Deacon Has Daddy Issues(5/15/18) (Video) Nashville‘s Juliette seems to have awakened from her Movement for Coherent Philosophy-induced stupor! Praise Reba!
“The back half of Season 6 is really intense,” star Chris Carmack previews in a freshly released sneak peek at the remainder of the CMT drama’s final season. And the first footage from the series’ upcoming episodes backs him up.
Let’s start with Ms. Barnes, who apparently ditches her peasant dress, returns from Bolivia and immediately begins the work of dismantling Darius’ mind-control empire. “You control people by fear and intimidation,” she near-yells at him; at another point, Ju holds a press conference in front of the cult’s headquarters and promises to “pursue this as long as it takes.” (Feisty Juliette is SO much better than brainwashed Juliette, yes?)
Elsewhere in the video:
* Deacon goes off on his father, Gideon — played by St. Elsewhere vet Ronny Cox — while Maddie and Daphne look on in horror. (Mia Maestro, who, like Cox, will recur in the second half of the season, can be seen in some of Juliette’s scenes.)
* Gunnar watches Avery and Alannah canoodle… but they don’t know he can see them.
* Scarlett is called in to help when Sean, her veteran friend from the horse farm, holes up at his house with a gun.
* Brad sweet-talks Daphne, who’s a contestant in his televised country-music singing competition, but it’s pretty clear that he does so mainly to get under Deacon’s skin.
* Members of the Nashville cast — including Charles Esten and Hayden Panettiere — give their thoughts on episodes to come.
Nashville returns Thursday, June 7, at 9/8c.
Jimmy Fallon, Fergie, Connie Britton & More Set For Paley Center’s Tribute To Music On Television(5/15/18) Connie Britton, Alejandra Espinoza, Jimmy Fallon, Fergie, J Balvin, Art Garfunkel, DJ Khaled, Wynton Marsalis, Mandy Moore, and Paul Shaffer have been tapped as presenters at The Paley Center annual spring gala, The Paley Honors: A Gala Tribute to Music on Television, taking place tomorrow at Cipriani Wall Street.
Other confirmed guests include Annabelle Attanasio, AJ Calloway, Gaby Espino, Santino Fontana, Amy Forsyth, Damon J. Gillespie, Carla Hall, Casey Johnson, Jaime Lee Kirchner, Litzy, Rarmian Newton,Fabián Ríos, Shirley Rumierk, Leslie Uggams, Dionne Warwick, Lynn Whitfield, Tristan “Mack” Wilds, and Deborah Joy Winans.
The event will honor the groundbreaking musical moments from television including music-based series, variety, and talk shows, as well as pay tribute to the famous TV theme songs. “The Paley Honors shines a spotlight on the Paley Center’s overall mission to explore the role television plays in shaping our society,” said Maureen J. Reidy, the Paley Center’s President & CEO. “This year we’re so proud to present this first of its kind celebration that will highlight the historic and iconic musical moments that have thrilled generations of television fans.”
The occasion benefits the creation of the Paley Center’s Music Collection, which will become part of the Paley Archive as well as the Paley Center’s ongoing Education Programs.
Obie Awards Set Andrew Garfield, Laura Benanti, Lucy Liu, Matthew Broderick As Presenters(5/15/18) Heather Hitchens, President and CEO of The American Theatre Wing and Peter Barbey, President and CEO of The Village Voice announce today the lineup of presenters at the 63rd Annual Obie Awards. The ceremony will take place May 21 at Terminal 5 in New York City.
This year’s presenters include Academy Award and two-time Tony Award nominee Andrew Garfield, Emmy Award nominee Lucy Liu, as well as two-time Tony Award and Obie Award winner Matthew Broderick. Other presenters include Oliver Platt, Laura Benanti, Laura Osnes, Beth Malone, David Morse, Itamar Moses, Arian Moayed, William Ivey Long, Natasha Katz, David Henry Hwang, David Zinn, Emilio Sosa, Lilli Cooper, and Pixie Aventura. Hitchens and Barbey will also present along with Chair of the Obie Judges Michael Feingold.
Emmy and Obie-winning actor John Leguizamo will serve as this year’s Obie Awards. Tony Award-nominated and three-time Obie Award-winning actress Kathleen Chalfant will receive a special Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement.
‘Splitting Up Together’ Renewed For Season 2 By ABC(5/12/18) ABC has ordered a second season of its new midseason comedy Splitting Up Together starring Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson, from Warner Bros. TV. It is the only freshman ABC comedy to make it to Season 2, with The Mayor and Alex Inc. not expected to return. I hear the order is for 13 episodes.
Single-camera Splitting Up Together premiered March 27 to solid numbers — 2.1 Live+same day in 18-49 — and 7.2 million viewers — thanks in no small part to being the lead-out of the hugely rated debut of the revived Roseanne. Since then Splitting Up Together has settled in with about half those numbers. With help from the goosed up premiere, Splitting Up Together season-to-date average is a 2.1 18-49 in L+7/most recent ratings.
Fischer and Hudson star as Lena and Martin, the couple whose marriage is reinvigorated by their divorce. They still live in the same house, alternating weeks, with one living upstairs and doing the parenting while the other lives downstairs in the guest apartment.
Diane Farr, Lindsay Price, Olivia Keville, Van Crosby and Sander Thomas co-star in the comedy from A Very Good Production and Piece of Pie Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Based on the Danish series created by Mette Heeno, it is executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres, Emily Kapnek, Jeff Kleeman, Dean Holland, Heeno, Mie Andreasen and Hella Joof.
Younger Books Laura Benanti to Play Self-Made Billionaire in Season 5(5/4/18) When Younger returns for its fifth season, Sutton Foster will find herself in the company of a fellow Broadway queen.
Tony Award winner Laura Benanti, currently a series regular on TBS’ The Detour, will appear in two episodes of the TV Land comedy’s upcoming season, playing a self-made billionaire named Quinn, TVLine has learned. The character, who’s slated to be introduced in August, pitches a book to Millennial on her every-woman-for-herself approach to business.
In addition to The Detour, Benanti has also held down roles on shows like Supergirl, Nashville, Law & Order: SVU, The Good Wife and Nurse Jackie. There’s also a pretty good chance you’ve seen her on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert — though we wouldn’t blame you for thinking you were watching Melania Trump.
Younger‘s fifth season premieres Tuesday, June 5 at 10/9c.
Nashville Selling Nearly 2,000 Costumes(4/27/18) (cmt.com) Nashies, if you’ve ever wanted to raid the closets of Rayna Jaymes, Juliette Barnes and Deacon Claybourne, better act fast.
The luxury consignment website The Real Real is selling 1,770 clothing items and accessories from CMT’s Nashville. And the hoard includes 77 pieces of jewelry, much of which has already been sold.
“We’ve done 168 episodes, so the volume of clothing we had was pretty amazing,” Nashville’s costume designer Susie DeSanto tells InStyle. “We had a warehouse full of thousands and thousands of pieces — including some big-ticket, high-end items — and with the show coming to an end, we had to find each one a new home. This was definitely a way for us to give back to the fan base who loves the show, plus everything is quite a bit more affordable now.
“There are tons of Connie [Britton]’s leather jackets and pants,” she adds. “Then there’s a Zuhair Murad dress that Hayden [Panetierre] wore last season, which I tracked all over the world to get it to Nashville in her size.”
A few items not for sale include 250 costumes that were held for a possible Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit.
“The cast was really attached to their characters’ clothes,” DeSanto said, “so, of course, we let them go through and pick out what they wanted to keep before we started selling everything to the rest of the world.”
Happy shopping, y’all! The show’s final episodes return on June 7.
Nashville Cast Promises 'Magic'-Filled Swan Song for CMT Series(4/20/18) (Video) It’s hard to believe, but Nashville is about to tune its guitar and step onstage for its final bow. In this exclusive video, the CMT drama’s cast prepares viewers for the lead-up to the series finale.
“There was magic in the very beginning,” Charles Esten says. “There’ll be magic in the end.”
Esten is joined in the clip by co-stars Hayden Panettiere, Claire Bowen, Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson, Chris Carmack and Lennon and Maisy Stella, all of whom speak about why they think the show has connected with viewers over the course of six seasons.
“They’re very human stories,” Panettiere says. “There’s been a lot of love there, and a lot of respect.”
Nashville returns with its final midseason premiere on Thursday, June 7, at 9/8c.
Chaley Rose on Code Black(4/20/18) “La Familia” – Jesse is in denial when his brother arrives at Angels Memorial in bad shape after being pinned down in a warehouse collapse and further tests reveal he has advanced congestive heart failure. Also, Willis opens up to Rox about his brother who was killed in Afghanistan, on CODE BLACK, Wednesday, May 9 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
GUEST CAST includes: Chaley Rose (Pepper Russo), Alex Lange (Max), Cuyle Carvin (Firefighter).
‘Nashville’ Cast & Crew Celebrate Wrapping Last Episode Of Final Season(4/10/18) The country music soap Nashville is about to ride off into the sunset with their sixth and final season. The cast and crew recently shot their final episode which is set to air on CMT on July 26 and the gang took to social media to commemorate the event with fond farewells, kind words, throwback photos, and pictures from the set.
Lennon Stella, who plays Maddie, posted a photo from her first day on set saying that working on the show has been “magic” and adding “No words could possibly express my gratitude.” Chris Carmack took to Instagram to post a video of the spot that once served as Gunnar and Will’s house. Sam Palladio posted a selfie of him and co-star Hayden Panettiere on set of the final day of taping saying, “Blessed beyond belief to have been surrounded a cast and crew that I can call family.” Show creator and executive producer Callie Khouri kept it short and sweet saying, “that’s a wrap.”
Nashville has been on quite a journey since it premiered on ABC in 2012. It was canceled suddenly in May 2016 and then moved to CMT for its final two seasons. Nashville follows country stars Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten) and the Highway 65 family as they strive to keep Rayna Jaymes’ dream alive and pursue their music while juggling relationships, family and the ever-changing industry. Jonathan Jackson, Clare Brown, Sam Palladio, Kaitlin Doubleday, Rachel Bilson and Lennon Stella also star. Connie Britton played Jaymes for the series’ first four-plus seasons.
The final eight episodes will air on CMT starting on June 7.
Chaley Rose on Code Black 4/25/18(4/6/18) “Third Year” – A drug bust-turned-shootout tests the bravery of the doctors of Angels Memorial as they race to save a girl caught in the crossfire. Also, Willis (Rob Lowe) shifts his focus to field medicine, choosing to work primarily on an ambulance with his new partner, paramedic Rox (Moon Bloodgood). And Leanne (Marcia Gay Harden) begins her journey to adopt Ariel (Emily Alyn Lind), on the third season premiere of CODE BLACK, Wednesday, April 25 (10:00-11:00PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
GUEST CAST includes: Chaley Rose (Pepper Russo), Troy Winbush (Principal Grant).
Nashville: Grammy Winner Steve Earle to Counsel [Spoiler] in Final Season(3/27/18) Apparently, the “Copperhead Road” leads straight to Nashville.
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Steve Earle will guest-star as himself in an upcoming Season 6 episode of the CMT drama, TVLine has learned exclusively.
Series star Sam Palladio tells TVLine that the prolific rock/folk/country musician will arrive just when Gunnar could use a pick-me-up.
“Gunnar has been really struggling to write… He’s trying to get his writing hat back on and feel connected to what he’s doing,” Palladio says. “Gunnar ends up sitting down and getting some songwriter advice.” He adds that Earle “encourages him to stop overthinking and to just jump off that cliff and go for it and do something that people have never seen you do before.” Earle’s previous TV acting credits include recurring as The Wire‘s Walon and Treme‘s Harley Watt, as well as appearances on Law & Order: SVU and 30 Rock (in which he performed “The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell”). And in a nice bit of symmetry, Gunnar sang one of Earle’s songs, “If Momma Coulda Seen Me,” in Nashville‘s first season.
Other upcoming guest stars on the country-music drama include Mia Maestro (Alias), who’ll play Rosa, a member of The Movement for Coherent Philosophy who is starting to doubt her involvement in the group, and Ronny Cox (Stargate SG-1), who’ll play Gideon, Deacon’s estranged father.
Nashville, which is produced by Lionsgate and Opry Entertainment, will resume its final season on Thursday, June 7, at 9/8c.
CONNIE BRITTON TO LEAD BRAVO MEDIA’S SCRIPTED ANTHOLOGY SERIES ‘DIRTY JOHN’(3/26/18) Four-time Emmy-nominee Connie Britton (“9-1-1,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Nashville”) has signed on to star in the first season of Bravo Media’s scripted anthology series DIRTY JOHN, based on the articles and breakout true crime podcast of the same name from Los Angeles Times reporter Christopher Goffard. The series tells the true story of how a romance with the charismatic John Meehan spiraled into secrets, denial and manipulation. Britton will lead as Debra Newell, a successful interior designer and single mom from Orange County who falls in love with John Meehan. Britton will also serve as an executive producer.
Four-time Emmy Award-nominated Connie Britton most recently starred in the first season of FOX’s “9-1-1,” from executive producer Ryan Murphy. She also appeared this fall in the Golden Globe nominated, “SMILF,” for Showtime. Britton is best known for her Emmy Award-nominated starring roles on “Nashville” and “Friday Night Lights.” Her role on “Nashville” also earned her a Golden Globe nomination. She received another Emmy Award nomination for her role in the first installment of “American Horror Story.” Additional television credits include: “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” “Spin City,” “24” and “The West Wing.”
Britton recently completed production on “Land of Steady Habits,” based on the debut novel from Ted Thompson, written and directed by Nicole Holofcener. Her recent film credits include “Professor Marston & The Wonder Woman,” “Beatriz at Dinner,” “Me & Earl & the Dying Girl,” “This Is Where I Leave You,” “The To-Do List,” “Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World” and “American Ultra.”
In April 2014 Britton was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme. In this role, she raises awareness of UNDP’s work in poverty eradication and women’s empowerment, advocating to the American and global public.
Scripted anthology series DIRTY JOHN received a two season, straight to series order from Bravo Media earlier this year. Produced by Universal Cable Productions (UCP), the studio behind Amazon’s “Homecoming” and Netflix’s “Umbrella Academy,” in association with Los Angeles Times Studios and Atlas Entertainment, the series will be executive produced and written by Alexandra Cunningham (“Chance,” “Desperate Housewives”). In addition to Britton, Richard Suckle and Charles Roven will serve as executive producers for Atlas Entertainment and Mark Herzog, Christopher G. Cowen and Chris Argentieri will serve as executive producers for Los Angeles Times Studios.
Britton is represented by WME, Untitled Entertainment & Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller. WME also reps Los Angeles Times Studios, Atlas Entertainment, and Alexandra Cunningham.
March For Our Lives: Amy Schumer, Yara Shahidi Join L.A. Rally Speaker Line-Up; Hollywood Tweets March Support(3/22/18) Amy Schumer, Connie Britton, Olivia Wilde, Skai Jackson and Yara Shahidi are among the speakers set to take the stage at the Los Angeles March For Our Lives rally Saturday, with singer-songwriter Charlie Puth among the musical performers slated.
The actors will share the stage with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, site of the February 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida. Other speakers and performers will include Denver Choir, Lara Downes, Ta’Rhonda Jones, Cappie Pondexter, Bret Lockett, Hasan Piker, Jacob Sartorius, Mason Cook, Meg Donnelly, Sierra Dupri. Trevor Hall will be providing a video of the song “Angel Rays” in honor of the 17 victims, and L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti will make the opening remarks.
Scheduled to begin at 9 am, the L.A. march is one of more than 800 currently being planned in solidarity with Saturday’s national March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. The student-led campaign against gun violence and school shootings is designed to “call on lawmakers to prioritize the lives of young people nationwide.”
The main march in Washington, D.C. kicks off at 10 AM ET, along Pennsylvania Ave NW from 3rd Street NW to 12th Street NW. The stage, located at 3rd and Constitution Streets, NW, will serve as the hub for the day’s program which will begin at noon ET, with speakers including the Parkland students who launched the event. Musical performances will come from Common, Miley Cyrus, Andra Day, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Demi Lovato and Vic Mensa others.
The New York march and rally is set for 11 AM ET at the corner of West 72nd Street and Central Park West, making its way to and down Sixth Avenue to 43rd Street.
Counting L.A., Washington D.C. and New York City, marches and rallies are being planned in 836 locations worldwide, including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Liverpool and Reykjavik, to name a few, according to The March For Our Lives website.
The Downtown L.A. march will convene on the corner of 6th Avenue and Spring Street, proceeding to Los Angeles City Hall and Grand Park for the rally, where students, teachers, community leaders, and artists will speak “to honor the 17 lives tragically claimed in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018 and to demand immediate action on gun violence prevention.”
“We are witnessing our generation, actively come together, in a global conversation, demanding action from lawmakers to invest in and assure our right to safety,” said Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi. “I am inspired and motivated to continue to contribute through action, and am honored to be joining March For Our Lives, in Los Angeles this Saturday, to stand in solidarity with my peers from across the country, to demand an end to the gun violence plaguing our schools and our communities, once and for all.”
The event has received financial donations of at least $500,000 from George and Amal Clooney, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Oprah Winfrey.
Riley Smith Cast In Fox Legal Drama Pilot Produced By Danny Strong(3/13/18) Former Frequency star Riley Smith is set as a series regular opposite Rachelle Lefevre in Fox’s drama pilot from Empire co-creator Danny Strong and feature writer David Elliot.
The untitled project (formerly known as Infamy), a legal drama set at a wrongful-conviction firm, hails from 20th Century Fox TV and studio-based Danny Strong Productions. Penned by Elliot and directed by Patricia Riggen, it revolves around a legal team led by Madeline Scott (Lefevre), a fierce and fearless lawyer with a hunger for justice. They reopen investigations, putting their own lives in danger to exonerate the innocent that were “proven” guilty.
Smith will play Levi Scott, Madeleine’s brother.
Smith starred as Frank Sullivan on the CW’s Frequency and also appeared in a major arc on Nashville. He currently can be seen opposite Lucy Hale in a major recurring role on the CW’s Life Sentence. Smith is repped by Gersh and Sanders Armstrong Caserta Management.
Nashville Sets Series Finale Date, Adds Mia Maestro and St. Elsewhere Vet(2/23/18) (Video) It’s official: Nashville will strum its last chord on Thursday, July 26.
The country-music drama will return for the series’ final eight episodes on Thursday, June 7, at 9/8c, CMT announced just after the midseason finale aired Thursday. As usual, all episodes will be available to stream on Hulu the day after they air.
In addition, Nashville will add two recurring guest stars in the last batch of episodes. Mia Maestro (Alias, The Strain) will play Rosa, a true-believer member of The Movement for Coherent Philosophy who is starting to doubt her involvement in the organization.
Meanwhile, Ronny Cox (St. Elsewhere, Stargate SG-1) has been cast as Deacon’s father, Gideon Claybourne. Per the official character description, Gideo is a “recently reformed lifelong alcoholic” and “crusty, frustrated, would-be musician” who’ll enter the action as he tries to repair his relationship with his son.
“It was just such a happy turn of events for us that we could get” Cox, Nashville co-showrunner Marshall Herskovitz tells TVLine. “It just gives us a real chance to do real drama, a story about a really badly sundered relationship where these two men have not seen each other in many years.”
Herskovitz adds that Cox will sing during his time on the show.
Nashville Midseason Finale: EP Weighs In on Juliette's Absence, Deacon's Big Misstep and Will's Scary Collapse(2/23/18) (tvline.com) This just in, courtesy of Nashville‘s midseason finale: Absence actually doesn’t make the heart grow fonder.
Thursday’s episode both marked the halfway point in the CMT drama’s final season and set up some serious heartache for Avery, whose reaction to Juliette’s decision to stay at a cult retreat in Bolivia included removing his wedding ring and telling Deacon he’s “done” with his flighty wife.
“I will not live my life like this anymore,” a highly upset and seemingly over-it Avery said during the hour. And when new bandmate Alannah started ever-so-slightly cozying up to him? Let’s just say, he didn’t immediately turn her away.
Meanwhile, Deacon couldn’t stop himself from getting physically involved when Brad was rough with Jake. Though the interaction was over before it really began, Brad seemed to relish the idea of pressing charges against Jessie’s new man. “Did you just assault me?” the irksome record-label exec said, smiling, as he sauntered past an instantly regretful Deacon.
And in New York, while taping a performance at The Chew, Will’s steroid use caught up to him. He collapsed in the middle of a song, and seemed unresponsive as emergency medical personnel strapped him to a gurney.
We wanted to know what all of this means for the series’ final eight episodes, which will debut on Thursday, June 7 (9/8c). So we went straight to co-showrunner Marshall Herskovitz for the answers… well, the ones he was willing to give up, at least. Read on for the scoop:
TVLINE | First of all, I’m very worried about Juliette and Avery. This seems like a bad place for them as a couple, where we’re leaving them before the break. Is he as done with her as he sounds like he is?
I wish I could answer a question like that, but I can’t. [Laughs] Well let me say this. What can I say? I have to figure out what is safe to say… All right, we know Juliette’s going to be back. I’ll just give that away right now. So she’ll be back. I can say that Avery feels as done as he is. What he feels is what he feels, you know what I mean? I can’t speak to the future one way or the other, but I think you could certainly defend the way he feels. God almighty, he’s put up with so much from Juliette over the years.
I think what we want to look forward to, though, is the possibility of transformation. The possibility of someone changing their lives, and what does that mean and what does that mean for the people around them? So yes, we’re leaving Juliette and Avery in a bad place — and I hear about it on Twitter literally hundreds of times a day and I understand that — but this is the nature of drama. A story would not be a good story if there were not moments in the story when things look dark. That doesn’t say where it’s going to come out at the end, but that’s just a part of all good drama.
TVLINE | We’ve also been hearing from readers who’ve noticed that Hayden Panettiere has not been on screen that much in the past few episodes. I know you’ve spoken before about how it can be challenging to give all of the characters in the show airtime, but even given that, her on-screen presence feels a little sparse as of late. Can you address how much we’ll see her in the second half of the season?
Well, I can easily say that she’s Number One on the call sheet, in the parlance of our business, and she’s such a central part of this show and we are not in any way going to slight her story. I think I can say that.
TVLINE | In this last episode it seemed like Alannah and Avery seemed to have a little bit of a kinship. Am I reading too closely into that, or is that something that’s going to be explored as we move on?
Oh my gosh. Boy would I like to speak about that. But I can’t! [Laughs] Look: What’s there is there to be seen. I’ll put it a different way. There is a connection. What happens there will have to be explored, you know? We’ll find out if it’s real or not.
TVLINE | We see Will collapse during the performance, after Googling about tapering steroid use. Has he been trying to do that himself?
No. That’s not what’s happening. But I’m not at liberty to say what is happening.
TVLINE | Can you give us a gauge of how bad off he is? It looks really bad.
What happens to him is real. In other words, again it’s very hard for me because I don’t want to give away upcoming stories. It wasn’t a trick, put it that way.
TVLINE | Deacon’s stepping into the Brad-Jessie-Jake fight seems certain to have legal ramifications. Will it affect Deacon’s relationship with Jessie, as well?
You know, I think it certainly puts their relationship in danger because even though it wasn’t very violent, it was still technically assault, and that’s what [Brad] said. “Did you just assault me?” And you know, assault is a criminal act that has repercussions. I personally find it a very delicious turn in the story, because every piece of it comes out of the character of these people. In other words, there was almost an inevitability about it, even though we didn’t see it coming.
You know Deacon has this history of violence, at lashing out, and Jessie has this history of being tormented by [Brad], and [Brad] has a history of being cruel. So it was sort of an inevitable clash, and yet I can truthfully say, we didn’t plan on this. We just realized that it had to happen. And as a storyteller, that’s a great moment when you realize that the characters themselves are telling you what must happen.
Nashville's Chris Carmack and Sam Palladio Preview Their New Band Name(2/22/18) Though we’ve been referring to Nashville‘s newest musical collaboration as The WAAG band, the show has yet to give Will, Avery, Alannah and Gunnar’s group an official name.
Until tonight’s midseason finale, that is.
Though we won’t spoil the name ahead of airtime (CMT, 9/8c), we thought you might like to hear how the band’s new handle came about. So when series stars Chris Carmack and Sam Palladio stopped by TVLine’s New York offices this week, we asked.
TVLINE | The new band gets a name this week. Did you all talk about how that came about?
CARMACK | More than you could possibly imagine.
PALLADIO | Oh my God. [Production has] got to jump through so many loopholes to end up with a name.
CARMACK | Because everything is a band name!
PALLADIO | Right.
CARMACK | [Gesturing to objects within reach] Table Tops! Sorry, can’t do it. Bottled Water! Sorry, it’s already a band. Picture Frames! Sorry, can’t do it.
PALLADIO | So the name that was printed in the scripts and went through all the loops that we had to then try our best to veto, the band was going to be called The Brilliant Ideas. That was the band name.
CARMACK | We were all a little disappointed with that.
PALLADIO | We were all a little disappointed. So we had about a week before we started shooting the episode where they announce our name. So we all took it upon ourselves, like, “Right, we can do this. We can give them some options that they haven’t heard.”
TVLINE | So you all brainstormed.
PALLADIO | Yes. It was Chris, myself, Jonathan [Jackson, who plays Avery] and Rainee [Blake, who plays Alannah]. We were sending group emails. Got a list together. Sent them to Marshall Herskovitz, our showrunner. “Hey dude, can any of these fit the bill?”
CARMACK | Originally, it was just an email saying, “Hey, can we have a couple of suggestions?” He was like, “You would not believe how hard it is.”
PALLADIO | So we took it on ourselves. And actually, [BAND NAME REDACTED] was one of mine. [Laughs] So Gunnar named the band, man!
Magnum P.I.: Jay Hernandez Scores Title Role in CBS Reboot Pilot(2/20/18) CBS has found its modern-day Magnum.
Jay Hernandez (Scandal, Last Resort) has nabbed the title role in Magnum P.I., the Eye net’s in-the-works reboot of the classic ’80s action-drama. He succeeds Tom Selleck, who played the iconic private eye during the series’ original CBS run.
Hernandez’s Thomas Magnum is a decorated ex-Navy SEAL who, upon returning home from Afghanistan, repurposes his military skills to become a private investigator. Reboot vet Peter Lenkov (Hawaii Five-0, MacGyver) penned the pilot along with his fellow Five-0 writer Eric Guggenheim. Fast & Furious‘ Justin Lin will handle directing duties.
Hernandez’s TV resume also includes stints on The Expanse, Gang Related and Nashville.
Nashville Recap: Gone-for-Good Girl?(2/16/18) (tvline.com) Avery, I’ve implored you to stop this insanity, but this week’s episode of Nashville makes it clear: We’ve both wildly underestimated the severity of your situation. When it comes to extricating Juliette from the clutches of a low-key cult, you’re gonna need reinforcements.
When Juliette extends her stay in Bolivia — without answering a single phone call or message from her worried baby daddy since she left weeks before — Avery decides it’s time to get on a plane and bring his lady home. Problem is, Juliette has zero desire to return to Music City or the life she led there. Is she brainwashed? Does she really just need time to think and grow? I’m leaning toward the former, and from the looks of Avery’s tearstained face, he’s right there with me.
Meanwhile, a bit farther north, Alannah is totally going to be the death of the guys’ new band, and Deacon and Jessie finally get it on. Read on for the highlights of “Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound.”
A SHORT, STRANGE TRIP IT’S BEEN | Maddie flies to Miami to meet Jonah; she’ll perform with him at his concert, then hang out with him and the guys for the rest of the weekend. The pop sensation is sweetly attentive to her for the five minutes that he’s in town… but the morning after the show, he announces that Richard Linklater wants him to read for a role in a new movie, and he’s got to go to Texas to do it. Rather than bring Mads with him, Jonah encourages her to stay with his entourage, who are seeming more and more to me like an idiot version of the Life and Death Brigade. When two of the juggleheads offer Twig and Maddie psychedelic mushrooms, they both pass. But then the guys peer-pressure Twig into cramming one into his mouth, and then Maddie takes it upon herself to babysit a freaked-out Twig until he stops tripping. They bond about how he was forced to grow up too soon, thanks to an absent dad and a checked-out mom, and their interaction looks an awful lot like mutual flirting the next morning. But then Jonah comes home and everything is back to normal, though Twig looks disappointed. (Side note: I’d wondered if maybe Twig was in love with Jonah, and not crushing on Maddie, but this episode seems to answer that for me, right?)
BRAD IS A BAD DAD | Both Daphne and Jake perform at their school’s open house evening, which is attended by Jessie, Deacon, Brad and his new wife. Daphne sings a lovely song she wrote. Brad does a spoken-word piece about Star Wars. It’s a little weird. And wait, Indiana Jones? And hating his dad, and being bullied? Oh god, there’s a Game of Thrones reference at the end. “I’m a wildling, y’all are a bunch of crows,” Jake says, gently placing the microphone on the stage rather than dropping it to end his number. (I don’t know why, but I loved that little detail.) Afterward, Deacon and Jessie gush over both kids’ performances, but Brad only has kind things to say about Daphne’s. He tells her she should be a star, an idea she’s clearly tossing around in her head later as she looks at an application for Brad’s American Idol-like country-music competition.
When Deacon happens to have a moment alone with Jake a few days later, he reiterates that he loved what he saw up on that stage. “The words you said and the heart behind it, it cut right through me,” Deke says, commiserating about having a father who didn’t quite do his job and offering himself as a cautionary tale who blindly accepted his dad’s lack of confidence in his abilities. He adds that feeling things deeply can be painful, but “it’s worth it. It’s a gift. You keep doing what you’re doing.” Jessie overhears all — and can’t quite believe it when Jake initiates a handshake with Deacon before leaving for Brad’s — which makes her very, very appreciative of her boyfriend’s ability to parent.
The moment Jake is out the door, Jessie’s lips are on Deacon’s face. “We’ve gotta hurry, or we’re gonna miss the show,” he tells her, chuckling. “We’re gonna miss the show,” she answers, leading him to her bedroom, because NOTHING knocks down impediments to boning faster than a mom than watching her romantic partner take care of her kid.
THREE GUYS, A GIRL AND A ROUGH PLACE | Will is so jealous of Alannah’s popularity since joining the band, he tries to drown her out with his electric guitar during a gig, then hits the gym so hard in frustration that he nearly passes out. Gunnar is so jealous of Alannah’s ex — even though Gunny EXPLICITLY TOLD HER he wasn’t looking for a relationship in the first place — that he gets all weird and asks her inappropriate questions, like whether she and her former partner hooked up on a night she wasn’t with Gunnar. (Still, she shows up at Gunny’s house of her own accord at the end of the episode, so that’s something.)
In other news, reporters have started contacting Bucky about the guys’ side project. But the writers don’t really want to talk to anyone other than Alannah. And when one of the journalists lets it slip that Brad alerted them to her rising stardom, Deacon doesn’t like that one bit.
JULIETTE GOES ALL THE WAY | When Juliette isn’t aboard her private jet when it returns from Bolivia, Avery calls The Movement for Coherent Philosophy’s Bolivian facility but is told that he can’t speak to Juliette. So, on Deacon’s advice, Avery flies there himself to bring his wife/ex-wife/reason for breathing home himself. Once he gets to her — which is no easy task, thanks to the movement’s stonewalling receptionist — he finds Juliette sitting in a simple blue dress in her bedroom. He’s elated to see her, but she doesn’t show much emotion at all when he embraces her and asks her to come home.
When he notes she’s not acting like herself, she says, “You’re right. I’m not the person I was. But I am more myself than I have ever been in my life.” She goes on to say that she’s lived her entire life for other people, a statement on which Avery quickly and unequivocally calls BS. He reminds her that she’s never given a damn what anyone else thought. “I understand why you think that, but you’re wrong,” she says, a little too evenly, almost as though she’s repeating something she’s been told ad nauseum. “I needed people too much. I had to control everything because I was afraid if I didn’t, I would be erased.” And then, things get real bad.
Juliette tells Avery he’s part of the problem — “You had a stake in keeping me the way that I was” — and says she can’t be with him or have anything to do with her old life “until I learn how to fill this whole in my heart on my own, not from the outside.” That means she’s not coming home, she adds, suggesting that Cadence come live with her until she’s ready to return to the United States. Avery looks like he’s trapped in some terrible dream, telling her that that is not an option. (Interesting, too, that Juliette doesn’t once mention her daughter until Avery mentions her name, eh?) Juliette drops the suggestion quickly, saying she’ll FaceTime the toddler every day.
“You are not the problem. I am,” she says dispassionately while Avery cries and tries to figure out what the hell is going on, exactly. “And I can’t communicate with you or anyone else until I can change that.” And when he literally begs her, on his knees, to come back, she pulls him close and kisses him. “I’ve already made my decision,” she states, then turns away, leaving him to find his own way out.
Nashville Recap: Gunnar Strikes Again!(2/14/18) (Video Buried in this glimpse of Avery and Gunnar’s “bro night” from Thursday’s Nashville is a troubling piece of intel regarding Miss Juliette Barnes:
Avery has no idea where his wife is, exactly, nor when she’s coming home.
Sure, we knew that Juliette had taken off for Bolivia as part of a Movement for Coherent Philosophy service trip to help children who’d survived trauma. But, as we learn in the exclusive sneak peek at Thursday’s episode (CMT, 9/8c), Avery hasn’t heard from her since she left. And it kinda feels like she doesn’t want to be found.
There’s also beer, pizza and Gunnar acting like a complete noob about Alannah, so enjoy!
Nashville Recap: Gunnar Strikes Again!(2/8/18) (tvline.com) Gunnar? You barely know ‘er!
Nashville‘s resident blonde (at least while Juliette’s out of town) does his thing in this week’s episode — and by “his thing,” I mean “sleeps with a woman with whom he is professionally involved,” even though that arrangement didn’t work out for him with Scarlett… or Erin… or Hailey… or Zoey… or Autumn. Dude, the list goes on an it is embarrassing how inadequate you are at keeping it in your pants when a pretty woman with sweet pipes makes eyes at you.
Also? Daphne hates Jessie. Yeah, you knew that, but she like really hates her this week. And Scarlett falls back into her old patterns, as well.
Read on for the highlights of “Beneath Still Waters.”
ALANNAH’S A HIT | The newest member of Will, Avery and Gunnar’s band is a gigantic hit on Twitter after their first show together, so Gunnar suggests making her a bigger part of the group. Will is cranky about it, but that’s probably more because he can’t find his “vitamins” (read: ‘ROIDS) than anything else. Anyway, Gunny goes to Alannah’s house to hear more of her music, and she plays him a gorgeous ballad she wrote about how you need to let things go before you break them “or before they break you,” she says. He manages to control himself long enough to bid her goodnight and leave, but when he gets to his car, he tells himself, “Don’t be an idiot.” Then he turns around… and is an idiot. When he knocks on Alannah’s door once more, she knows exactly why he’s there. I do kind of love that she’s the more aggressive of the pair, and that he’s all, “I’m not ready for a relationship” and she’s all, “Who said I was?”
The next morning, they wake up next to each other and she promises that it can stay a casual, fun thing. “Don’t worry. No one has to know,” she says, rolling back on top of him for a little wakey wakey eggs and hey-now. But all it takes is one moment of weirdness at rehearsal and the guys totally know what’s going on. (You guys know how I write in all caps sometimes? I assure you that they’re used here to accurately represent exactly what Gunny sounds like in the scene.) “You two look kinda sexy together,” Avery notes when Alannah starts rubbing up on Will while they’re singing. “ALMOST TOO SEXY,” Gunnar says in what I’m sure he thinks is a totally suave way. “It’s a joke! EVEN I WANT TO MAKE OUT WITH WILL RIGHT NOW.” (Side note: Stop teasing me, Nashville.)
The moment Alannah steps outside, Avery looks at Gunnar and says, “What were you thinking?!” (Ha.) “Band 101: Don’t sleep with bandmates!” There’s more ribbing, and it’s warranted. Then the band plays that night and they’re amazing, and even Gunnar is able to keep himself in check. (Perhaps by concentrating on his sweet porkpie hat.) After the show, Brad Maitland lumbers up to Alannah and gives her his card, telling her to distance herself from the boys. What if they’re my friends? she asks. “I’m the only boy you will ever need, all right?” he sleazes. Oh, so Brad is the new Jeff Fordham? Well smirk my turtle and call me daisy! At the end of the evening, Alannah goes home alone, leaving Gunnar to stare after her with his Gunny, googly eyes.
MAKING INROADS | Daphne hates Jessie, and Jessie is fully aware. But Deacon is irked by his younger daughter’s stinkface attitude toward his new lady, so he sets up a dinner for the three of them and Jake, so they can hash everything out. It goes poorly. Thank goodness Jessie puts on her big-girl pants and gets some time alone with Daphne, confessing that she’s afraid she’ll mess everything up for the people she cares about so much. “You need to know that I am not trying to replace your mother, OK? I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. And I’m not trying to take your father from you, either.” Daphne cries and apologizes. Jessie cries and smiles. They hold hands and all is well.
MEANWHILE… | Can we get some webisodes about Juliette’s adventures with Culty McWorrisome in Bolivia? Anyone?
HORSE SENSE | Scarlett’s need to gather all the wounded puppies of the world to her side manifests as she fixates on Sean, a military vet at the ranch who’s got PTSD and is on the verge of losing his wife and baby daughter. When she sees him drunk and rambling around downtown Nashville, she follows him and starts talking about how she knows music is important to him. How does she know? Well, she’s been Google-stalking him.
She invites him to stay at her house, because that’s a totally sensible thing to do to a stranger struggling with his mental health. When he sobers a bit, he realizes that she was talking about him like she knows him — and when she confesses to the online research, particularly a video of him playing guitar with a friend at his high school graduation, things go bad quickly. See, the friend died while the two of them were serving abroad in the military. “I watched his jaw get shot off. So anytime you wanna rub my face in it, just keep going on about music,” he says, angry and agitated.
Before Scarlett retires to her room, she asks him one question: “I’m just wondering: Who does it help if you give up what you love?” And that seems a little ballsy a query for a suffering veteran whom you barely know, Scarlett, but maybe that’s just me.
But because Scarlett is an angel in a grandma cardigan, her prodding works: The next day at the ranch, Sean picks up a guitar and starts singing. Just a little bit, and just to himself, but it’s a start.
Nashville Recap: Sad in the Sack(2/2/18) (tvline.com) Deacon, you were so close.
This week’s Nashville finds the label head/widower/poster boy for Dad sexiness nearing a major milestone: His first real nookie since Rayna kicked the bucket last season.
But buttons are barely unbuttoned and chests are barely heaving before Deke starts having some capital-F Feelings about the whole thing, and before you know it, he’s sobbing on Jessie’s floor. It’s sad. It’s touching. It’s not wholly unexpected. But is it the end for a relationship that’s just getting started?
Elsewhere, Juliette makes a bold decision about her immediate future and the WAG Band becomes the WAAG Band. Or WAGA Band. GAAW, maybe? I’ll explain later.
Read on for the highlights of “Where the Night Goes.”
THE BOY BAND GETS A GIRL | “OK guys, I’ve got a question,” Gunnar asks Will and Avery, “Why is it always me singing the high, girly part?” Oh Gunny, I have so many answers to that. When the guys respond that he’s got the voice that can do it, he counters tha the wants to hire a pretty girl to croon along with them. Bucky agrees that some of the hottest acts in country right now — Little Big Town, Alabama Shakes — are co-ed. And so the guys go about adding a little estrogen to the WAG Band’s sausage party.
For some reason, they decide to go out and try to find someone by attending a bunch of shows. (Isn’t narrowing the pool exactly the kind of thing Bucky would do for them?) They all seem enamored of Alannah, who’s got pink and purple hair and a rad voice. And after Gunnar sniffs out that she’s single, he’s her biggest champion. Will and Avery like her, too, and it becomes official when she debuts with them at a gig that night: Alannah is part of the band. I think she blends well with them, but I’m too distracted by Gunnar making googly eyes at her while they’re all up on stage. Maybe try dating someone — and I’m just spitballing here — who’s not in/affiliated with your band, bro? See how that works out for once?
THE BOLIVIAN EXIT | At home, Avery is still bowled over by the news of Juliette’s recovered rape memory. And he’s trying to be as supportive as possible. But when Darius suggests that she needs to serve others in order to kickstart her new life… and that the best way to do that is via a two-week, Movement for Coherent Philosophy service trip to Bolivia… Avery is incensed.
“I don’t trust this guy. Why are you letting him control your whole life like this?” he wonders, but Ju maintains that she’s not. Later, when she presses him for an answer, he blurts out, “Do you even need us anymore, except to save you from yourself?” But she’s growing more sure of herself by the minute. “I do not need you to save me,” she replies. “I am saved.”
The next night, when Juliette wakes up alone, she finds Avery sleeping on the couch. She cozies up to him and apologizes. “I’m sorry I’m not a normal person. You deserve a normal person in your life,” she whispers. “It’s OK,” he answers softly. “I’m used to it. Sort of.” She tells him she needs him “more than anyone in this world” and they have sex. But when he wakes up in the morning, she’s gone and she’s not answering her phone. Bolivia? Avery’s face looks like “Aw hell NO-livia,” amirite? (I’ll show myself out.)
THE REAL JONAH FORD | Jonah’s “crazy” (according to him) ex writes a song ragging on Maddie. Jonah tries to apologize in person, but the paparazzi get in the way. (Side note: I’ll spare you all my usual rant about how I’ve been led to believe this thing is really out of character for that town, but suffice to say, I’m still irked by the show’s inconsistent invocation of invasive tabloid media.) Finally, he shows up at the house and begs her to see that a) he truly is no longer dating his ex and b) he’s just a ball of anxiety who thinks that his own music is “crap.” Then he asks her to accompany him to an EP rollout party. She says yes.
They’re at the event for a very brief time — cute braids, Mads! — before he tells her they’re leaving. Oh, and he kisses her in front of everyone. They wind up buying lots of yummy donuts and staying out all night. At one point, I start to think the show is going to go full Arianna Grande and have Jonah lick a donut, but it doesn’t happen. Eh, probably for the better.
LET’S GET IT ON | That leaves us with Deacon, who is necking in the car with Jessie when things get a little hotter than they’ve previously gotten. They make a quick plan to go to her place… but then they realize they don’t have condoms, and in the discussion about whether or not to pick some up on the way, their nether regions cool considerably. (Side note: Oh just GO TO A DRUGSTORE. In terms of impediments to sex, this is a rather small one, no? Teddy was literally in danger of losing his job and his liberty, and he was still banging Ol’ Leopard Panties on the regular. Deacon, BE BETTER THAN TEDDY.) (Side note to my side note: Deacon later does to go a drug store.)
Anyway, there’s a lot of back and forth during the hour about where and when Jessie will finally get her hands on Deke’s six-string, if you know what I mean. They finally wind up at her place, on her couch, and they’re sweetly nervous around each other… until they start kissing. Then she’s on his lap, and then they’re horizontal, and it is ON. Deacon starts working his way down her neck and, oh wait, it’s actually OFF. Because he’s crying. And it’s not “One Manly Tear Sliding Down My Face as I Briefly Think About My Dearly Departed Wife.” It’s more “Sobbing So Ugly I Feel the Need to Hide My Face With My Hand and Slither Off the Couch in Horrified Embarrassment Combined With Nasty Breath Hitches.” Or, shorter: Nice work, Esten.
For her part, Jessie is very understanding and comforting. “If you need to talk about Rayna, it’s fine. It’s OK,” she says, petting him like he’s a Chihuaua who just heard thunder. He starts apologizing (“I thought I could… I wanted to”) but she shushes him. “It’s been 11 months,” he notes, adding that he’s had some sort of breakdown every single day and wondering why he can’t seem to get past things, because it feels like Maddie and Daphne are doing OK with their grief. Jessie just hugs him as he tries to remember how to breathe.
DEKE’S WALK OF SHAME | Once Deacon composes himself, they share some ice cream and stay up talking. Their last conversation before Jessie falls asleep with her head in his lap (NOT LIKE THAT) is about how they should sleep under the stars by a river sometime. Of course, this makes him think about Rayna, because everything makes him think about Rayna. And he sadly whispers that he’s sorry that he’s broken, but Jessie doesn’t hear him, because she’s conked out.
In the morning, they’re weird around each other. And Jessie is a little less Earth Mother than she was a few hours earlier. “You don’t have to say anything. I know that Rayna is a hell of an act to follow,” she says, misreading his awkwardness as he prepares to leave. “Just so you know, I know that I’m not her… She was larger than life, and I can’t compete with that.” But he stops her before she can say anything more. “I was gonna say, please don’t give up on me,” he says softly. And she’s relieved.
Deke and Maddie both arrive home in the very early morning to find that Daphne’s sleepover at a friend’s house ended when the girl got food poisoning. So Daph’s been home alone all night. Oops!
Final Nashville Concert Tour Has One U.S. Date — Find Out Where and When(1/31/18) The cast of Nashville will kick off its 2018 concert tour — the last one before the CMT series goes off the air — in front of a hometown crowd.
The tour’s single date in the United States will take place on Sunday, March 25, at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Opry Entertainment announced Tuesday.
Series stars Charles Esten, Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio, Chris Carmack, Lennon and Maisy Stella and Jonathan Jackson will perform at the event, which also will feature “special guests,” a promo for the show promises. A release that accompanied the announcement said Kaitlin Doubleday — as well as Nashville newbies Jake Etheridge, Nic Luken and Rainee Blake — were slated to attend.
A few weeks after the Opry date, members of the cast will launch the tour’s European leg, which includes stops in England and Ireland.
Nashville, currently in its sixth and final season, airs Thursdays at 9/8c. Tickets for the U.S. date go on sale here on Friday, Feb. 2, at 11 am/10c.
Nashville Recap: Well You Can Tell My Heart, My 'Roid Ragey Heart(1/26/18) (tvline.com) This week’s Nashville offered up a huge chunk of information about Juliette’s past, and boy, is it a timely doozy.
Just a day after former Team USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing more than 150 girls and women in his care, the CMT drama aired an episode in which Hayden Pannettiere’s character, Juliette, remembered that a man Juliette knew as “Uncle” paid her mother to engage in sexual activities with her as a child.
“I think this is something really important for people to be able to talk about,” co-showrunner Marshall Herskovitz told TVLine when we discussed the episode Wednesday after we’d viewed a screener of the episode. “My god, the bizarre coincidence that we’re talking on the day when this monster was sentenced is sort of remarkable.”
In the Nashville episode, titled “That’s My Story,” Darius decides Juliette has reached the point in her Movement for Coherent Philosophy journey called “witnessing”: She reclines in a dark room full of candles and other movement members while Darius coaches her to delve deeper into a troubling, vague memory about an older man who knew her mother. As Juliette’s memory crystallizes, she remembers that she — and not Jolene — was in the bedroom with the lecherous old man while her mother cried and pocketed a stack of bills in the living room. The realization of what actually happened causes Juliette to sob.
Read on as Herskovitz explains why the country-music drama chose to tackle the subject at this point in the season, and what the discovery might mean for Juliette and Avery as they move forward.
TVLINE | This is relatively early in the season to have such a large revelation happen.
TVLINE | What was the thinking behind revealing Juliette’s abuse now, as opposed to later?
Because it actually opens the door to a lot of story that’s going to follow. It’s been very interesting to watch the reactions of the audience on Twitter to this guy Darius and to this movement she’s getting into and they’re saying “Oh no, don’t get involved in a cult!” What’s interesting to me is that, regardless of where this is going to go, there’s a lot that this man teaches that’s absolutely correct and very helpful to her. So it’s not a simple situation at all. What [happens] in this episode, the revelation of what was done to her, is life-changing to her. And he facilitates that. So there’s an interesting combination of dark and light here.
TVLINE | We’ve talked before about how the things Darius says are not wrong, but the whole atmosphere of the movement is a little creepy.
TVLINE | I’m wondering if the fact that Juliette is making such gains in such a controversial environment — how might that play with her family and friends?
I’m always constrained, because I don’t want to talk about future story, and that’s the problem. But we were always really interested in the idea that this man and his movement really helps her but at the same time, there’s just something that raises the hairs on the back of your neck, like there’s something wrong here. How do you do that, how do you accomplish that, and how do you walk that fine line? Obviously, Avery has been suspicious from Day 1 about this guy. I don’t think I’m giving away much to say that his reaction to this revelation is complicated by the fact that he’s suspicious of this guy. In other words, he understands the huge significance of what Juliette has discovered, and he feels awful for her. But at the same time, he still has suspicions about the group.
TVLINE | This is a very big storyline and it’s arriving in one that has had rather small ones. Why this bombshell, when the show has trafficked lately in quieter, smaller moments?
Well actually, I think there are going to be some very big stories this year. Speaking a little inside baseball here for a second, every year, you hear the complaints about the first two or three episodes of Game of Thrones. What’s happening? Nothing’s happening! And then all of a sudden, it begins to accumulate, and then so much happens. When you’re doing a serialized story with many characters, you have to lay a lot of pipe in the beginning of the season. And we’ve been doing that, and I don’t want the audience to get the impression that this is going to be a nice, quiet season where everyone just sits in rooms and talks. There’s going to be lots that happens. This is the first big bombshell, but there’s a lot more coming.
TVLINE | What was Hayden’s reaction when you first pitched her the storyline?
Oh, she’s so game. [Laughs] Hayden is such a remarkable performer. We keep talking about this — she should be a director, because she understands what the camera needs to see. Most actors experience the scene through their own emotions and what they’re experiencing in the scene. Hayden has the ability to do that and at at the same time understand what the camera needs to see or what the audience needs to feel. And that does not, in any way, undermine the authenticity of what she’s doing. I find that remarkable, and it’s extremely rare. Actors like that usually become directors, because they’re actually filmmakers…
I think she got the importance of [the abuse storyline]. She got that this is something that can potentially help people understand a trauma that plays a huge role in so many people’s lives, and we’re just beginning to understand that as a society. And I think she understands that and feels good about telling that story.
Nashville Recap: Well You Can Tell My Heart, My 'Roid Ragey Heart(1/19/18) (tvline.com) The Saddest Sack in Music City award this week goes to Nashville‘s Will Lexington, who manages to have an embarrassing goodbye with his ex, a failed hook-up with a gymbro and an uncomfortable revelation to Gunnar all in the space of an hour. Oh, and did I mention he’s shooting steroids into that perfect swivel machine he calls his hips?
Yep, even though he pastes on a toothpaste-commercial-caliber grin and maintains he’s only injecting a little human growth hormone, it’s clear that Will is hurting something awful in the wake of his break-up with Zach. Yes, it seems like it happened 10 years ago. Yes, Zach was never all that impressive to begin with. But pain is pain, people. And now that Gunnar has gotten a glimpse of his roommate’s true anguish, what’s he going to do about it?
Read on for the highlights of “Jump Then Fall.”
GOIN’ BACK TO CALI | Zach informs Deacon that he’s going to leave Nashville, but he’ll still be a major partner in Highway 65. “I’ve decided to pursue a Senate bid in California,” the tech whiz says, and Deke wishes him well. Will tries to do the same a few days later, stopping by the label as Zach is packing his office, but Perfect Mark is there, and things get awkward fast. Zach tries to go the “Welp, I wish you well!” route, but the pleading note in Will’s lovelorn voice make that just about impossible. “Why couldn’t we make it work?” Will asks, all but begging. When Zach admits that he couldn’t get past Will’s refusal to back him up during the Highway 65 tense time, there’s not much else to say.
So Will hits the gym, hard, and gets some admiring glances from an onlooker. Or maybe the guy is just concerned, because Will is making dying elk sounds as he bench-presses a massive amount of weight. No, it’s definitely admiration: All it takes is a brief hello, and pretty soon Will has taken the guy home and is kissing him with abandon in the foyer. That’s where Gunnar finds them — that moment made me laugh out loud — and there’s a round of stilted introductions (in which Will gets the guy’s name wrong) before Gunnar leaves and Will and gymbro wind up in bed. Will is athletically going at his appointed task when the guy asks him what’s wrong; turns out, Will’s Little Lexington doesn’t seem to want to stand up and cheer.
At the doctor, Will can’t even bring himself to whisper the word “erection,” but his physician is all business as she tells him his problem is likely psychological and connected to the breakup. Still, she runs some bloodwork and is concerned to see a lot of junk in Will’s blood that shouldn’t be there. He admits that he’s been using some human growth hormone and steroids in order to get an edge in the gym, and she urges him to follow a protocol that will help his biochemistry even out. And that night, he’s about to take her advice and toss the vials he’s keeping in the bathroom… but then he thinks twice and prepares to inject himself, instead. That’s when Gunnar walks in, and though Will admits he’s using HGH and then plays the moment off as no big deal, it’s clear that Gunnar (correctly) thinks something is really wrong.
ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK | After their date and kiss in the previous episode, Deacon and Jessie are gingerly stepping up to the idea of being a couple. But they agree they should probably keep it from their kids for a while… until Daphne sees them at a café and everyone knows everything. So Deke gets weird, and then he apologizes but Jessie gets weird, and they finally agree that they want to be together after he goes to her house and tells her than her hanging up the phone on him made him feel “like the floor fell out from under me.” They smooch, unaware that at home, Daphne is having a sobbing breakdown in her sister’s arms. While both girls acknowledge that they want Deacon to be happy, “I hate this, and I hate her,” Daphne says. “Now I just really feel like mom’s gone.” (Side note: Great work here — and in the ballad she performs after — by Maisy Stella.)
WATER RISING | Juliette genuinely seems to be doing better, and if only she weren’t quoting Darius’ hackneyed platitudes every five minutes, Avery might be able to relax and be happy about his wife’s progress. (Sample dialogue, which gets a well-deserved eyeroll from Avery: “I want us to connect more as a family, not just see each other. That’s why there’s so many problems in this world: We interact, but we never really communicate on a deeper level.”) But he’s worried about her rapid assimilation into the Movement for Coherent Philosophy, and he admits as much to her. So she proposes a visit, in order for Avery to meet the man in charge and see everything she’s been so excited about for the past few weeks. A wary Avery agrees.
At the center, Avery asks Darius to explain coherent philosophy, and while a lot of words stream from the guru’s mouth, none of them really mean much. “I don’t know what it is. That’s the problem,” Avery tells Ju in the car on the way home. “He’s one guy who created a philosophy and now it’s like he’s controlling everything you think.” She’s not happy with how the day went, saying that the people in the movement “accept me exactly where I am and when I’m with them, I feel like maybe I can accept myself, too.”
And after Juliette comes home late from another evening with Darius & Co., Avery brings up the weird vibes he’s getting from Ju’s new bestie. “You’re putting all of your trust into this guy. You’re spending all of your time there. You’re living your whole life by his words,” he says. Juliette counters that maybe he’s jealous of Darius, or sad because Juliette’s not leaning on him the way she used to. And the next morning, she’s not angry as she heads out for another workday with the group, but she’s also not really listening to what Avery’s saying.
BIEBER? I BARELY KNOW ‘ER! | Jonah’s wooing of Maddie continues. He invites her to a club, where he asks her to sing on a track he’s recording the next day. That goes well, and they are quite canoodly as they hang out with his friends that evening… until a paparazzi photo of them fleeing the studio appears on a TMZ-like site, and Jonah gets angry. He explains that he just wants to get to know her without the interference that goes along with him being a huge pop star, and she is very level-headed as she tells him she doesn’t think she’s his girlfriend or anything that serious. And when people online start talking smack about her not being good enough for him, Mads decides to end things before they begin. She won’t let Jonah kiss her, saying that she knows the Internet is a harsh mistress, and she wants to avoid that kind of exposure if at all possible. But Jonah won’t let up, so he finds a place where they can get to know each other without flashbulbs going off: an old folks’ bingo game, where they appear to have a great time.
9-1-1 Renewed for Season 2 at Fox(1/16/18) Fox is making the call early: 9-1-1 will return for Season 2.
The network announced Tuesday that it has renewed Ryan Murphy’s star-studded procedural less than three weeks into its rookie run. The drama — starring Angela Bassett, Peter Krause and Connie Britton — got off to a strong start in its Jan. 3 premiere, drawing 6.8 million total viewers and a 1.8 rating. Not only did it build substantially on its X-Files lead-in (5.2 mil/1.4), but it won the night in the demo and represented the TV season’s best drama launch since ABC’s The Good Doctor. With DVR playback and multiplatform viewing, that debut audience swelled to 15 million.
“With a bold concept, award-winning stars and a flawless execution, Ryan, Brad [Falchuk] and Tim [Minear] have done it again,” said Dana Walden and Gary Newman, co-CEOs of the Fox Television Group, in a joint statement. “They have tapped into the cultural zeitgeist and reimagined the procedural as only they could, bringing it to life with a dream team of actors led by Angela, Peter and Connie. This is storytelling at its best and we’re so pleased that it’s resonated with our audience. We’d like to thank everyone involved with this production for their stellar work, and we look forward to another thrilling season of 9-1-1.”
Laura Benanti doesn’t need to meet Melania Trump(1/13/18) Broadway star Laura Benanti has become famous on TV for comically playing Melania Trump on Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show.”
New mom Benanti says: “I miss that bath time every night, except Sunday and Monday night.”
The show ends its run on Jan. 21.
Nashville Recap: An Open Plea to Avery(1/12/18) (tvline.com) Avery, dude, you’ve gotta put a stop to this.
I realize that being Mr. Juliette Barnes is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that you will never fully tell us about. I realize you’re married to a woman who, though amazing, is also simultaneously more skittish than a newborn colt on the Fourth of July and more stubborn than a retired mule roused early from a nap. I realize her volatile nature can make introducing new ideas — and here I’m specifically referencing the fact that she seems to be wading into cult-laden waters with stones in her pockets — a thankless task.
But man, you’re Nashville‘s first, last and only line of defense against Juliette the Cultbot, and we need you to fight. Because if this week’s episode is any indication, she’s one foot and three toes out the door already.
Read on for the highlights of “Second Chances.”
DEACON MOVES ON | Teased by nearly everyone in his life, Deacon finally decides to call Jessie and ask her out on a date. She questions him for a moment about how he didn’t seem ready before, but he merely replies, “That was then, this is now.” So she agrees… and then cancels, saying she has to deal with her son’s school-related meltdown. But the next morning, she calls back to apologize: She was using Jake’s emotional outburst as an excuse, because she’s nervous about seeing Deke romantically. So they try again, meeting up for dinner that evening. All good, right?
Wrong. The conversation is stilted. Deacon has possibly the world’s most boring reaction to her news that she’s leaving music and going back to school for psychology. And when they acknowledge the awkwardness, it only marginally lifts. At the end of the night, Jessie calls the evening a “fun, failed experiment” and accepts Deacon’s one-armed hug. But before she gets to her front door, she turns back and looks him dead-on. He returns the smoldering gaze. They walk toward each other and kiss, and it’s kind of hot. (I know, Rayna fans. I’m sorry. I hate that I don’t hate it, too.)
The next morning at school drop-off, Jessie and Deke are goofy around each other. Daphne doesn’t know they went out, but she knows something’s up, and she is not happy about it.
322ND VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST | Scarlett sings a gorgeous tune called “Ain’t No Normal” but comes off stage and starts to cry in the green room. That leads her to wonder if she even wants to perform anymore and… Wait. NO. Nope nope nope nope no no no. I am not doing this with you again, woman. Moving on!
MEET THE WAG BAND | After Will and Gunnar play a high-spirited set at Barista Parlor, Avery laments that he’s got too much going on right now (taking care of Cadence chief among his duties) to join his friends onstage on a regular basis. So those goofballs do what any good friends would do: They come to his house, attempt to literally lasso him into coming with them, settle for grabbing him (and Cadence) when the rope trick fails, and bring him to the American Legion to play a set with them. Don’t worry — they’ve hired a babysitter for Cadence, and “She’s got great reviews on Yelp,” Gunnar promises. (Ha.)
The guys absolutely kill it, bringing the house down with their cover of Waylon Jennings’ “Stop the World and Let Me Off.” The next morning, Avery ably makes pancakes and entertains Cadence while a hungover Gunnar and Will are barely functioning. When Will mentions that he was hoping they could play together once a week for the near future, Avery seems hesitantly open to the idea. (Side note: I’m very open to this idea. The three of them performing together was a great shot in the arm in this episode.)
NAILED IT | Where is Juliette while all of this has been going on, you may wonder? She’s at The Movement for Coherent Philosophy headquarters again, where Darius’ right-hand woman informs her that the big guy doesn’t have time to talk with her, but that Juliette is more than welcome to accompany a group that’s heading out to help with a Habitat for Humanity-like project. Juliette balks… but then she goes. Then she’s assigned to nailing down insulation in the house’s frame. She balks… but then she does it. When she hits her hand with a hammer and demands ice, Darius’ assistant tells her to get it for herself, because “When people hand us things, we grow weak. When they refuse us, we rise to the challenge.” (Side note: As I’ve said before, it’s actually good advice, but it’s delivered so. damn. creepily!) Anyway, Juliette balks… then she gets the ice for herself. Noticing a pattern here?
By the end of the day, Juliette is joking with the movement’s other members and agreeing to stay for dinner, where Darius finds her laughing and having a great time. (Avery, on the other hand, is having less of a good time as he realizes how much his wife wants to be with her new friends. And he doesn’t even know about the organization’s mandate that members donate 30 percent of their income yet!) As she prepares to leave the next morning — yeah, she slept there — Darius warns her that going back to her home and family means going back to an environment where people are invested in her staying exactly the way she is. “It’s hard to break old habits in old environments,” he says. And when she returns home, you can just tell that she’s already mentally packing her bags.
Nashville's Charles Esten Forecasts Deacon's First Post-Rayna Date(1/11/18) (Video) Ladies and gentlemen, Nashville‘s Deacon Claybourne is officially back on the market.
And in tonight’s episode (CMT, 9/8c), the Highway 65 chief goes on his first date since Rayna’s death last season — an occasion for mixed feelings, star Charles Esten says, if ever there were one.
“It’s a horrifically hard position he’s in right now,” Esten says during a stop at TVLine’s New York offices,”mourning this woman that you thought you would be with the rest of your life. And then you meet somebody else that had every quality or attribute that you might look for in somebody —but you’re not looking for somebody.”
That “somebody,” of course, is Kaitlin Doubleday’s Jessie, with whom Deacon had a slightly flirty friendship — which paused on a rather ambiguous note — at the end of Season 5.
“They’re both in a place where love is not the first priority, and neither one of them is looking,” he says. “I thought that was great, the way we dealt with that last season and the way we made that clear, because once that was clear, then the friendship was allowed to grow.”
But just because Deke has gotten to a place where he’s ready-ish to give romance another shot doesn’t mean that everyone in his family is on board with the plan, as evidenced by Daphne’s tearful confession in the Season 6 trailer: “I want him to be happy,” she tells sister Maddie, “but I hate this.” Esten acknowledges that unlike the emancipated and nearly adult Maddie, Rayna’s younger daughter is “still right there, she’s still going to school, she’s still right in it” and therefore has even less reprieve from the notion of her stepdad moving on. “I think she’s the voice of a lot of viewers,” he adds. “I get that. We all get that, that she’s like, ‘No. This is not how I want him happy.’ I don’t know if there was intentionality behind that or not, but it serves a purpose.”
Elsewhere in the episode, Juliette gets even deeper into the self-help group she learned about in the premiere. When we bring up the potential problems in Highway 65’s biggest artist joining what seems a lot like a cult, Esten says Deacon’s not overly concerned. (At least, not yet.)
“He starts off, not downplaying it, but going, ‘This is Juliette. This can happen. If you find something that works, as a guy that has been through it, you get a little gung-ho in the moment. It’ll wear off, you know, how things do,'” he says. “So it starts off with [Deacon] being not just the label head, but the friend.”
Connie Britton defends her pricey 'Poverty Is Sexist' sweater(1/11/18) Actress Connie Britton has defended the high price tag of the “Poverty is Sexist” sweater she wore to Sunday’s Golden Globes, explaining a portion of proceeds benefit charity.
The Nashville star used her choice of fashion to make a statement at the ceremony, where the majority of attendees took part in the red carpet black-out, ditching colourful ensembles in support of the Time’s Up movement, which aims to end sexual misconduct, inequality, and discrimination in the workplace.
Connie chose to wear pair a black skirt with a matching embroidered top, which carried the message, “Poverty is Sexist,” and although she was initially praised for her statement sweater, fans have since questioned her fashion pick after discovering the Lingua Franca garment cost $380.
The backlash has prompted Connie to directly address the criticism online, explaining her reasons for choosing that particular brand.
“For those concerned with the price of my Globes sweater I just don’t think a $5,000 gown would have added to the conversation in the same way,” she posted.
‘Nashville’ Kicks Off Final Season In Strong Voice On CMT(1/10/18) CMT cued up the sixth and final season of Nashville on Thursday and drew the series’ best L+3 numbers since its S5 midseason premiere in early June.
The countrified soap drew 1.6M total viewers and a .8 rating in the demo — a 7% boost in viewership and 20% jump in 18-49 over the previous cycle’s average. It also was the most social entertainment cable series program for the night, according to Nielsen Social.
Watch a preview of this week’s episode below.
Now in its second season on CMT, which picked up the series a month after ABC canceled it suddenly in May 2016, Nashville follows country stars Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten) and the Highway 65 family as they strive to keep Rayna Jaymes’ dream alive and pursue their music while juggling relationships, family and the ever-changing industry. Jonathan Jackson, Clare Brown, Sam Palladio and Lennon Stella also star.
Produced by Lionsgate and Opry Entertainment, the series is executive produced by Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, Steve Buchanan and Callie Khouri. (Video)
Connie Britton Wears ''Poverty Is Sexist'' Shirt to 2018 Golden Globes: What It Means(1/8/18) Connie Britton is flexing her activist spirit at the 2018 Golden Globes.
The actress joined a bevy of stars in wearing black to support the Time's Up initiative, but she also shined light on another organization's mission to address gender inequality with a sweater that read "Poverty is Sexist" in a white cursive font. A nod to Bono's ONE Campaign movement of the same name, #PovertyIsSexist seeks to level the playing field for women and men in economically disadvantaged communities.
"Nowhere on earth do women have as many opportunities as men. Nowhere. But for girls and women in the poorest countries, that inequality is amplified," the ONE Campaign's website reads. We won't end extreme poverty until we break down the barriers holding girls and women back. Sexism is global — the fight against it should be too. Join the movement and use your voice to call for change. We're almost 8 million strong already, but we'll be even more powerful with you."
The sweater appears to be specially designed by Lingua Franca; similar pieces typically retail for around $380.
Britton didn't necessarily stir controversy with her statement-making sweater, but it did garner a mixed reaction from social media users.
One Twitter user commented, "Apparently, someone decided this was an appropriate slogan for a campaign aimed at improving girls' access to education. You've got to be joking." Another added, "That doesn't make any sense."
According to this celeb, repping #PovertyIsSexist stems from her wish that the Time's Up movement will effect change in spheres beyond Hollywood. "To me, my hope is that we start looking outside of Hollywood and really make this a movement that will impact all women in the United States and all women in the world," Britton told TooFab.
Charles Esten Discusses The Final Season Of "Nashville"(1/4/18) (Video) The final season of the hit CMT series, "Nashville," picks up with Deacon (Charles Esten) finding himself at the helm of Highway 65, navigating an uncertain music industry and striving to keep Rayna’s dream alive. Zach Welles continues to make his presence known at the label and hires a new CSO. Daphne struggles to cope with the loss of her mother. Maddie takes steps to further her solo career and comes to a crossroads in her relationship with Clay. All this and more await in the new season. Join Esten when he stops by to chat about the series.
Nashville Season 6 Premiere Recap: Dropping the Ball(1/4/18) (tvline.com) It’s New Year’s Eve in Nashville, yet not a single one of our Music City denizens has someone to kiss at midnight. And if that isn’t fodder for the saddest country song ever, I don’t know what is.
Scratch that: Nothing is more pathetic than a blonde (!) Gunnar getting the yips and mooning over Scarlett for the 43,000th time since the series began. (But please, no one write that song.)
One more thing, before we get into it. This Juliette nonsense with the cult is worrisome, yes? Yes. OK, good. We’re agreed. Read on as we highlight the action in “New Strings.”
A FRESH START | Deacon, Maddie, Daphne and Scarlett are taking belated Christmas photos when Bucky calls: He’s lined up a big-deal New Year’s Eve gig for her in Los Angeles. She jumps at the chance to go, but Deacon needs a minute: It’s the first holiday season since Rayna died, after all, and he’d expected his family to spend it together. But he gets over it quickly, giving his OK but asking Scarlett to tag along as chaperone.
Throughout the hour, several people — Daphne, Scarlett, Zach, even Jessie’s slimy-yet-entertaining ex Brad — gently nudge Deke to get back out there and start dating. He protests “all this Match dot Timber” nonsense (heh) but secretly starts a profile on a site called Kissmet. Still, he can’t bring himself to go through with it. But his grumpiness about the matter fizzles when he realizes that Scarlett and Daphne have returned home early (wait, didn’t she have an MTV thing?) in order to count down to the new year with him. Aww.
MADS’ NEW SUITOR? | Before she gets home, however, Maddie is busy catching the eye of Justin Bieber-esque pop star Jonah Ford in California. He’s got an entourage, which Mads thinks is cute. Scarlett’s take on it? “Ehh,” which marks the first and only time Scarlett and I have been in agreement on something. Jonah claims Maddie is one of his favorite artists, and he makes sure to get her number so she can swing by the studio and see him the next day. But when she shows, he’s not there, and a savvy Maddie smartly turns down his text invitation to hang out the next day.
Still, when he comes to her hotel with flowers, she’s charmed. So she agrees to have dinner with him, then accepts a flight back to Nashville on his private jet.
BLONDES HAVE LESS FUN | Gunnar has completely lost his onstage mojo, as well as most of the pigment in his hair, thanks to his breakup with Scarlett and some liberally applied peroxide, respectively. Will, meanwhile, has no trouble firing up a crowd and having a good time, so he appoints himself Gunnar’s guru as he preps for a New Year’s Eve show. But then Will sees Zach with his new boyfriend, “perfect Mark,” and gets all teary as he moans, “I’m not even sure I’m the guy you should be talking to about confidence.” Oh no, GUNNAR HAS INFECTED HIM. But it all plays out OK. Even though Gunnar totally seizes on stage at New Year’s, Will jumps up to sing harmony and all is well in the world. Sadly, though, they do not reenact their Season 1 smooch as the clock strikes 12.
RETURN TO FORM… AGAIN | And that leaves us with the episode’s most troubling storyline: Juliette’s testing the waters of what seems like a giant cult. After she blows up at people trying to help her plan a New Year’s Eve party, Avery and Glenn attribute the stress to getting her new tour launched. But at the first date, right there in Nashville, she shocks everyone by stopping the music midway through the first song.
See, Juliette noticed unflattering signs in the audience — “Backstabber,” “Song Thief!” and “You’re No Rayna,” are a few — and decided to end everything just after it had gotten started. When someone in the pin-drop quiet auditorium yells, “You’re a fake!,” she shoots back, “You have no idea how real I am.” Then she launches into a tirade about how she’s tired of asking people for their love, and ends with “I think I just need to stop.” The crowd chants her name, and Deacon, Avery and Glenn look horrified in the wings, but Ju can’t be persuaded to change her mind. “I’m sorry,” she says, and walks off stage. (Side note: Way to pay back Deacon’s forgiveness, lady.)
Avery is concerned, and he whisks Juliette off to Asheville, N.C., for a little getaway. When she can’t sleep, she winds up in the hotel lobby at 2 a.m., and that’s where she meets a man in a sports coat who says he recognized her earlier in the day. She is sarcastic. He drops annoying, fortune-cookie-type wisdom (sample: “Complications are just excuses to avoid the truth”) and says for the first time of many during the episode that he believes one must give up control to get control. She’s like, “Whatever.” He bids her good night.
FREE STRESS TEST | Turns out, the guy’s name is Darius, and he’s the leader of something called The Movement for Coherent Philosophy, which puts forth the idea that everyone is an addict to something because they’re too afraid to access their secret pain and that’s great and all but CAN SOMEONE PLEASE GET LEAH REMINI ON THE PHONE PRONTO? Juliette is slowly getting more and more intrigued by the movement’s tenets, and pretty soon she’s visiting Darius’ headquarters.
As she’s ushered into his office, some of the shots legit look like outtakes from Going Clear. And though she puts up a good, skeptical front, all it takes to reduce her to a vulnerable, crying mess is Darius asking her if she’s a good mother. He teaches her a technique to help her access her “authenticity,” and she uses it at a confrontational radio interview the next day, surprising the host (and, once more, Avery and Glenn) when she calmly says, “I struggle with depression and it’s been really bad lately. There might be a lot of listeners out there who understand what that feels like. And I’m trying to get it under control, and I’m going to put my tour on hold until that happens.”
At the end of the hour, Avery and Ju ring in the new year at home with Cadence. But when he leaves the room to put their daughter to bed, Juliette calls Darius and says, “I’m ready.”
Nashville EP Talks Final Season: Juliette Struggles for Redemption, Will Dabbles in Drugs and Deacon/Jessie Heat Up(1/4/18) (tvline.com) Nashville‘s sixth and final season doesn’t start until tonight (CMT, 9/8c), but co-showrunner Marshall Herskovitz is already thinking about The End.
In November, news of the country-music drama’s cancellation came after Herskovitz and his fellow executive producer Ed Zwick had already started mapping out Season 6, but Herskovitz says there was plenty of time and space to plan a suitable send-off for Juliette & Co.
“We had designed the season to have a certain amount of closure anyway, because that’s what we like to do. We want there to be some kind of emotional satisfaction in most of the stories,” Herskovitz tells TVLine. “So it wasn’t that difficult to take where we were heading and turn that into a finale for the entire series.”
He adds: “I’m actually grateful that we can do a finale for the series, you know, and not just sort of drop off the end of the world.”
Ahead of the series’ return, we asked Herskovitz for a little scoop on your Music City favorites. Read on for his musings regarding:
JULIETTE | After stealing Maddie’s song at the end of last season — and then trying to atone by taking a public beating for it — the self-loathing country star “just felt that she was back where she had started, and that’s a painful place to be,” he says. “That’s where we find her in the beginning of the season: struggling with the weight of her own decisions. What we will see is the journey she takes to try to come to terms with that.” And that moment from the trailer, when Juliette tells a crowd, “I don’t think I feel like singing. I just need to stop”? It figures prominently in the premiere.
DEACON | The show put a pause on Deke and Jessie’s budding attraction at the end of Season 5, but “even in the first episode [back], it’s discussed,” Herskovitz says. “He’s very conflicted about it. He’s still grieving. He’s not ready to move on, but he’s a human being, and he’s lonely, so he’s torn.” And don’t think that Jessie’s ex, Brad, won’t have something to say about any romantic developments that may emerge — maybe just because Herskovitz enjoys working with Big Little Lies star Jeffrey Nordling, who plays the irritating label head, so much. “He’s the most charming villain I’ve had in a very long time!” the EP says, laughing. Meanwhile, Herskovitz confirms that Rachel Bilson’s Alyssa, who planted a surprise kiss on Deacon in the finale, won’t be back: “That’s just in the past.”
AVERY | Herskovitz stays quite tight-lipped when it comes to Cadence’s daddy, whom we know will start playing gigs with Will and Gunnar this season. All he’ll offer is: “There’s lots of really funny stuff that’s going to happen… it goes beyond playing with the other guys. There’s more big story.” (And maybe a few potential new entries for our best performances list?)
WILL | Thanks to several promos, we know that the character seen shooting steroids into his tush is Will, whom the EP says will have a tough time weathering both his breakup with Zach and his newfound status as a country-music heartthrob. “He fell really hard for Zach, and the way it ended was very, very painful. Also, Zach propelled Will into a different world. By the end of last year, he had a career beyond just being a musician. He was doing modeling, he was doing a commercial, and there are pressures — real pressures, as we all known — not just on women, but on men as well. When you’re in front of the camera, boy, those demons inside that tell you you’re not good enough can get very loud.”
HIGHWAY 65 | The EP previews “a change among three of the performers that I think the audience is going to be very, very excited about” but cautions that “the perpetual drama of Highway 65 is not necessarily at the center of things, but it’s still there.”
Nashville Boss Talks Juliette's Demons and Deacons' Love Life in Season 6(1/3/18) (tvguide.com) It's been a long road for Nashville, first on ABC and then CMT, and now the country music drama is gearing up for its sixth and final season.
The tumultuous Season 5 finale saw Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Scarlett (Clare Bowen) call it quits — possibly for good — and Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) publicly admitting to stealing Maddie's (Lennon Stella) song. Not to mention, we got kind of a near miss between Deacon (Charles Esten) and Jessie's (Kaitlin Doubleday) will they, won't they no-mance.
TV Guide spoke to Nashville executive producer Marshall Herskovitz about how it's felt to start wrapping up these characters' stories and what to expect from their final journeys in Season 6. Plus, what are the chances Connie Britton will show up for one last hurrah?
Did you guys know going into Season 6 that it would be the last?
Marshall Herskovitz: No, we didn't know. But we had a strong suspicion because you know how the TV business works now. Everyone had a six-year contract and so, we knew it would be a very heavy lift to get to a seventh season. We thought it was possible, but we didn't know for sure. We actually found out probably about a week before it was announced that the show was going to end. But that gave us time to work out the end of the season so that we could really have a good finale for the series.
This year in particular, we're having really a lot of fun. It's funny, there's a bittersweet quality to it because everyone knows it's the end but I think at the same time, it has in some way galvanized everyone. It's like, "Okay, if this is our last year, let's make it great." And I think everyone feels that.
And have you guys had these characters' final destinations in mind for a while now, or were there some big decisions to make about happy endings, finales, etc.?
Herskovitz: I mean, the thing is ... in my career, almost everything I've done has been in some sense improvisational. I don't mean on the set. I mean in terms of creating story. We fall in love with a character, we fall in love with a relationship, a storyline. That sort of thing. So I think we certainly did not have in our heads some grand master plan for where this series was going to end up. I think what we wanted to do was do justice to each of the characters and to the journeys they've been on for the past six years. And give the audience some feeling of satisfaction that there was a reason why they watched these people go through these twists and turns and difficulties and triumphs and all of it, and to feel satisfied moving on.
Juliette was looking kind of manic in the trailer for this season. What can you preview about where she's at mentally and emotionally in the premiere?
Herskovitz: Yes, well. I think it all grows out of what we saw happen to her last year, which is that although she did very well in the first half of the season in terms of pulling herself together, the old demons started to come back. She stole that song and that just caused a huge rupture in her personal relationships and in her career. I think we're seeing her now sort of reverberating from that terrible mistake that she made and really understanding that the demons that have pushed her all these years, the early trauma, the difficulties in her life are still there. That's setting up what we want to deal with this year with her character.
Do you think there's any room for Maddie and Juliette to ever mend the fence or has that friendship been through too much at this point?
Herskovitz: You know, I never say never. Beyond that, I won't say anything... That would be telling.
What can you tease about Deacon's storyline this year? Both personally and professionally.
Herskovitz: Well, he's got a great storyline this year. We're very excited about Deacon's storyline. You know, obviously people have seen from the trailers that Jessie is back, but I'm not going to say what that means. You know, clearly they had a very complicated relationship, and I think the whole idea of Deacon starting over and trying to find love again after Rayna (Connie Britton) is just a huge mountain to climb for him. We played that all the second half of last season, and I think that struggle will continue. But certainly, there will be changes, let's just put it that way.
And in terms of his career, I think I felt when I came on the show, we all felt that in some way Deacon as a performer has been in Rayna's shadow for too long and that we love the idea of seeing Deacon moving out into the world on his own as a star or as a beloved performer on his own. And that's something we are following as a storyline.
Maddie has a new love interest this year, which is exciting. Tell us a little about him and where that flirtation is headed in this season.
Herskovitz: It's clear in the trailers that she meets somebody who's already a star and so that sets up the idea of what it's like to live in this fishbowl of celebrity relationships, which we see around us all the time. And what Maddie is gonna learn from that, what difficulties come from it, it's a whole interesting set of challenges for her.
Scarlett and Gunnar are trying to figure out their lives apart, not just romantically but musically, so what do their paths look like this year?
Herskovitz: Oh boy. I'm real excited about both of them, and I don't want to say too much before the premiere. You know, I think Gunnar... I don't even remember what's been in the trailers, but I think there's some indication that there are at least some new combinations of people singing together on the show. And all I can say is there is so much fun in that storyline. I think people are gonna be really excited about it.
I think for Scarlett, she's on a really interesting journey this year, which gets me to the fact that there are at least three new characters we are introducing this year, each of whom I love. Each of whom is musically incredibly talented. I mean, the actors playing the characters. And we're very excited to have new musical talent on the show in relationship to our characters... I think watching Scarlett deal with what life is like post-Gunnar, but also remember it was Gunnar that got her to sing in the first place. So the whole idea of seeing herself as a singer came from Gunnar, so that's something she's questioning as well.
Can we expect to see Connie Britton make one last appearance this season, be it in a dream sequence or a flashback?
Herskovitz: The honest answer to that is there is no answer... I just don't know. I suppose it's possible it could happen, but I wouldn't count on it. I just don't think it's really been explored. In other words, anything I say will lead people to speculate in one direction or another. And I would say that, at this moment, there's nothing to speculate about.
Nashville premieres Thursday, Jan. 4th at 9/8c on CMT.