Season six will consist of 16 new episodes and is set to premiere in early 2018.
CMT became the new home of “Nashvile” last year when ABC canceled the country-music drama after the end of its fourth season. The first 11 episodes of season five averaged a 0.2 live-plus-same day Nielsen rating in the 18-49 demo and 900,000 total viewers — numbers that paled in comparison to what the series drew on broadcast, but were solid for a cable channel with limited scripted programming presence such as CMT. In live-plus seven numbers, the first half of season five averaged 2.1 million viewers, making it the most watched show in CMT history.
The first half of season five featured the death of lead character Rayna James, played by Connie Britton. Producers announced last month that Rachel Bilson and Kaitlin Doubleday would join the cast of the show for the season’s second half. Jeff Nordling (“Big Little Lies”) has also been cast to recur in the role of Brad Maitland for the remainder of the season.
“Nashville” is executive produced by Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, Steve Buchanan, and Callie Khouri. The series is produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios, and Opry Entertainment.
For season six, new episodes will continue to be made available to stream on Hulu the day after they premiere on CMT.
Scripted programming efforts at CMT are expected to scale back as Viacom executes a new strategic plan unveiled in February by CEO Bob Bakish, who called on the company to focus resources on six core cable brands — of which CMT is not one. But speaking to Variety last month, Kevin Kay, president of Paramount Network, TV Land, and CMT, said that “Nashville” would not move off of CMT as part of that execution.
“One of the things that we have to be conscious of is that TV Land and CMT are vibrant brands that are incredibly successful and make a lot of money,” Kay said. “The cornerstones of those networks need to stay on those networks.”
Watch a teaser for the second half of season five below: