Nashville fans are busy celebrating the fact that CMT has now announced a premiere date for the new season after picking the show up when ABC canceled it. Everybody will be anxious to see where the series heads during its revival, but there is some casting news out for Season 5 that may leave viewers quite distressed. Which main character will not be around throughout the entire season?

Many Nashville stars are returning for Season 5

Viewers were left buzzing after the Season 4 finale, as things were left very up in the air for Nashville fans as the network was angling to get a late revival. According to TVLine, Hayden Panettiere is expected to return to the role of Juliette for the full season ahead on CMT.

In addition, spoilers detail that Jonathan Jackson, Charles Esten, Chris Carmack, Sam Palladio, Clare Bowen, Maisy Stella, and Lennon Stella will return.

It is great news that so many of the original cast members are headed back for Season 5 of Nashville, but it seems that Aubrey Peeples and Will Chase will not be back to play Layla and Luke. In addition, word is now emerging via Entertainment Weekly that Connie Britton will only be back for 10 of 22 new episodes. Britton, who plays Rayna, is reportedly still in discussions about extending the number of episodes she will do. However, at this point, viewers may want to brace themselves for a Rayna departure.

When will Season 5 of Nashville premiere on CMT?

Season 5 of Nashville will premiere on CMT on January 5 and then the episodes will be available on Hulu the next day.

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Production is slated to begin in September and additional spoilers about the returning cast and upcoming storylines should begin to emerge as filming takes place.

Fans are certainly jazzed to get a premiere date and see Nashville return, but it will feel quite different if indeed Rayna is written out of the action. Can Connie Britton be convinced to return for the full 22 episodes, and if not, how will the show handle her departure or absence? Stay tuned for additional Nashville spoilers as more information about the CMT version emerges ahead of the January 5 premiere.