“Nashville” is heading back to TV with a new network, new showrunners and a new year.
Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz are on board as showrunners for “Nashville” at its new home with Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere, Charles Esten, Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson, Clare Bowen, Lennon Stella, Maisy Stella and Chris Carmack all poised to return, as well as Will Chase and Aubrey Peeples in smaller roles. Cast negotiations are currently underway.
On Wednesday, CMT also announced premiere slots for more scripted shows coming in 2017: new limited series “Million Dollar Quartet” and the second season of scripted comedy “Still The King,” starring Billy Ray Cyrus. Additionally, the Viacom-owned country cabler also announced a pilot order for another scripted series, “His Wives & Daughters.”
With “Nashville” creating much buzz and two more scripted series on deck — and many more in the works, including the recently reported “Varsity Blues” remake — CMT is boasting its most-ever scripted shows.
“After a promising start with ‘Still The King,’ we now have a clear path in attracting new audiences with our scripted programming,” said CMT’s head of development, Jayson Dinsmore. “Beginning with ‘Nashville’ in January, each series will help launch the next; creating an overlay to cycle viewers through our originals year round.”
“Million Dollar Quartet” will premiere in March 2017. Set in Memphis during the tumultuous early days of the civil rights movement, the eight part limited-run series tells the untold true story of nothing less than the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. Guided by Sam Phillips, young musicians like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis combined the styles of hillbilly country with the 1950s R&B sound created by artists like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Fats Domino and Ike Turner, and changed the course of music forever. The cast includes Chad Michael Murray, Billy Gardell, Drake Milligan, Kevin Fonteyne, Christian Lees, Jonah Lees, Trevor Donovan, Keir O’Donnell, Jennifer Holland and Margaret Anne Florence.
“Still The King” will return for a 13 episode second season in spring 2017. Season 2 follows the June 8 premiere that marked CMT’s highest-rated original series premiere of all time. The comedy centers on Vernon Brown (Cyrus), a scandal-ridden washed up one-hit wonder who is kicked out of country music, only to emerge 20 years later as the second best Elvis impersonator where he re-connects with a former one-night-stand (Joey Lauren Adams), only to discover he has a 15-year-old daughter he’s never met (Madison Iseman).
“His Wives & Daughters,” which was ordered to pilot today, is a soapy, comedic series that centers on the eclectic and cunning wives and daughters of larger-than-life country music legend and infamous womanizer Eddie Ray Banks. Casting is currently underway, and production is slated to begin this fall. The pilot is created and produced by Dina Chapman and Steve Sessions with CMT’s Dinsmore and Julia Silverton serving as executive producers.