Fans of CMT’s Nashville are upset over last night’s (Jan 23rd) jaw dropping episode of Nashville. Connie Britton’s Rayna Jaymes was killed off as she exited the show nine episodes into season five. Jaymes succumbed to her injuries sustained from a random car crash while being escorted in a police cruiser after fighting off an armed stalker. The news was especially shocking since Britton denied rumors she was leaving when she recently told Ellen DeGeneres, “I’m in it. I’m in. I’m in for the duration.”
“It was something that had been percolating over time, and there were lots of different reasons behind it,” Britton tells TV Line of her decision to leave. “But my priority was really making sure that the timing was right. My priority has always been Nashville. So when the show was moved to CMT and we got these great new showrunners — Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick — I was [confident] the show would be in a good place. Because one thing we learned over the summer is how passionate the fans are. We would not be on the air right now if it weren’t for the fans. We’ve all been so incredibly grateful for that. But the fans love every single one of these characters. And the show is now in a place where all of these characters can live and just be incredibly dynamic and amazing. I feel like Nashville can go on indefinitely.”
“We had already taken over the show when CMT picked it up,” Herskovitz tells Deadline. “That’s when Connie came came to us and said that even though she was still under contract, she felt at a creative level that she wanted to leave. It was actually a very painful decision for her because she felt close to the people on show, very close to the show itself but had been doing it for four years, and she just felt it was time to go.”
Britton’s character died with two episodes left before the mid-season finale. Herskovitz says it was important not to leave fans hanging.
“My primary objective was to allow the audience time to absorb, respond and work through the shock of her death,” he states. “It was originally suggested to us that we have Rayna die at the end of Episode 11, right at the end of this mini-season we are doing. I said, ‘No, that makes no sense, you can’t do that to the audience, ‘Oops, she died, bye, see you in three months.’ That would not work.’ Once we understood that, we then saw that we really had to work backwards, how much time, how many episodes we need to process what happened. We arrived at the formula that we used — she had the accident in the eight episode, dies in the ninth episode and then we have the tenth and the eleventh to deal with the aftermath. It’s actually worked out very well.”
Herskovitz says the next couple of episodes will have the surviving cast members dealing with Jaymes’ death as the show introduces new characters and storylines. He says he’s also planning ahead for season six even though CMT hasn’t given it a green light yet.
Fans of Britton will continue to see her character pop up in the next couple of episodes in flashbacks and for Rayna’s funeral.
Also, The Music of Nashville, Season 5 Volume 1 soundtrack will be available at digital retailers worldwide Friday, March 10th on Big Machine Records. The collection features the wide array of the music heard throughout the current season and is available for pre-order. Fans who purchase a physical copy exclusively at Amazon.com and will receive two bonus tracks for digital albums.
Since the show’s 2012 debut, Big Machine Records has released eight Nashville soundtracks. The music has collectively sold more than one million albums and five million single-track downloads with over 200 million streams to date.
1. “God Shall Wipe All Tears Away” | Rhiannon Giddens
Arrangement by Tim Lauer
2. “Your Best” | Lennon & Maisy
Written by Claire Guerreso
3. “All Of Me” | Clare Bowen & Sam Palladio
Written by Phillip LaRue, Tim Lauer, Lindy Robbins
4. “Simple As That” | Charles Esten
Written by Kalisa Ewing, James LeBlanc, Brad Tursi
5. “A Few Steps My Way” | Joseph David-Jones
Written by Gareth Dunlop
6. “My Favorite Hurricane” | Connie Britton & Charles Esten
Written by Jillian Edwards, Jake Etheridge
7. “Burn To Dark” | Chris Carmack
Written by Jake Etheridge, Garrison Starr
8. “On My Way” | Hayden Panettiere with Jonathan Jackson
Written by Paige Blue, Thomas Finchum, Chance Peña
9. “Won’t Back Down” | Jonathan Jackson
Written by Trent Dabbs, Matt Dragstrem
10. “Sanctuary” | Charles Esten, Lennon & Maisy
Written by Jill Andrews, Gary Nicholson, Sarah Siskind
11. “Close To The Fire” | Joseph David-Jones *
Written by Keelan Donovan, Brian Loschiavo
12. “To Make You Feel My Love” | Maisy Stella *
Written by Bob Dylan
*Amazon Bonus Tracks – Digital Only
Nashville airs Thursdays at 9 pm ET/PT only on CMT. Don’t forget to join the conversation after the show during “NASHCHAT,” a CMT Facebook Live series, hosted by radio personality Amy Brown at 10 pm ET.
Fans can see cast members Clare Bowen, Chris Carmack, Charles Esten, Jonathan Jackson and Sam Palladio out on the road when they return to Europe for a June tour across Glasgow, Birmingham, London, Brighton, Nottingham, Manchester, Dublin and Belfast. Tickets on sale now.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.