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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.