Last night, Nashville made its return to TV, this time airing on CMT instead of ABC, and started raising some serious questions about what the future holds for Rayna James’ (Connie Britton) future. After the two-hour episode aired, new co-showrunner Marshall Herskovitz spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the episode and what the future holds for the character.
Herskovitz said that Rayna’s storyline this season is inspired by Britton’s request. “We had a very long and interesting conversation with her before we started and she talked about her feelings about where Rayna would be right now and also (with creator) Callie (Khouri). It was just sort of a group endeavor of saying, ‘OK, this is a person who’s having a different kind of crisis. Not a physical one, but an artistic crisis and an existential crisis about who she is as a woman, as a person, and we thought what a great thing to explore.’ And also, Rayna’s had to be so strong in so many different ways, it was interesting for me to the see the other sides of her, to see her vulnerability, to see the price she paid to be that strong,” Herskovitz said.
As for the final scenes of the episode, where someone was watching Rayna from afar, Herskovitz remained tightlipped about what it meant for Britton’s future on the show. “I can’t talk about it, sorry. The truth is we’ve always been this way. We’ve never talked about story in advance … I put a huge premium on the audience’s experience of the show as they watch it, the immediacy of that. If you know something’s going to happen, then you’re not having the same experience of it and we’ve always felt that.”
But, to try and ease worrying by the fans, earlier this week, Britton stopped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show to talk about her future on the show, where she told DeGeneres that she’s “in for the duration.” However, that could mean Rayna is sticking around on the show, or something could happen to Rayna and Britton is sticking around with the show, as she’s a co-executive producer of the show.
Nashville is available to stream on Hulu. The first four seasons have every episode available and new episodes are released the day after they air on CMT.