Released on this day in 2012 was the musical drama, Nashville. The hour-long show quickly became one of the most popular programs on TV at the time.
Created by Callie Khouri, the cast included wildly talented actors such as Connie Britton (Rayna James), Hayden Panettiere (Juliette Barnes), Clare Bowen (Scarlett O’Connor), Eric Close (Teddy Conrad), Charles Esten (Deacon Claybourne), Jonathon Jackson (Avery Barkley), Sam Palladio (Gunnar Scott) and Lennon and Maisy Stella (Maddie and Daphne Conrad).
An instant hit, the show followed the lives of fictional country singers in Nashville as they navigated the ins and outs of fame, love, family and all that comes with being in the spotlight as new and established artists.
The show also took fans inside some of Music City’s most popular venues, like The Bluebird Cafe, The Ryman Auditorium and The Grand Ole Opry.
Nashville was a huge success both on screen and off as it brought a massive amount of interest in the city. Tourism exploded as the show’s popularity continued to skyrocket.
“The Nashville show has had a tremendous impact for this city on many levels,” Butch Spyridon, President and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, told Forbes. “It has been huge as a marketing asset, it has put an important spotlight on our songwriter community and the cast members have been incredible advocates for us as well.”
The show also offered an interesting opportunity for stars to break the stereotype of aging women in the entertainment industry. In an interview with The New York Times, Britton shared her take on playing Rayna James.
“I’m not interested in playing over-the-hill. I’m not interested in playing irrelevant,” she shared. “I want to depict characters who are getting better with age. That sounds like such a cliché, but all the women I know who are in their 40s are awesome and sexy and so smart and have life experience that you cannot duplicate. And this show is really a great opportunity to push back on the idea.”
In May of 2016, ABC made the executive decision to cancel the series. A month later, CMT picked it up for a fifth season, which aired on January 5, 2017 alongside a full new group of producers, writers and showrunners.
Some of the cast members weren’t opposed to the change, as Connie Britton shared with The New York Times, “It was complete rebooting and, quite honestly, it was necessary. I did feel to some degree that the show had gone in a direction where we were losing a lot of what the subject matter can provide.”
The sixth and final season of Nashville debuted on January 4, 2018 on CMT. The 16-episode season aired the 124th and final episode on July 26, 2018.