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JAN
22
6 MOS

'Nashville' Creator on Rayna's Complicated Love Life, 'Emotional' Season Finale

Creator/EP Callie Khouri talks with THR about whether Rayna and Deacon are on a path toward a romantic reunion and if an Avery-Juliette paring is in the cards.

Nashville Episodic Esten Britton - H 2014
ABC/Mark Levine
"Nashville's" Charles Esten and Connie Britton

On ABC's Nashville, Rayna's (Connie Britton) love life is growing more complicated by the minute.

After splitting from Teddy (Eric Close) last season, the country music diva has revived her career thanks to bad-boy Liam (Michiel Huisman), found a new love interest in fellow star Luke (Will Chase) and, after a near-death car crash, still can't seem to shake her attraction to former flame Deacon (Charles Esten).

While fans are still rooting for Rayna and Deacon to find solid footing again -- they have a shared interest in the emotional (and musical) well-being of their daughter, Maddie (Lennon Stella) -- each of the men around Rayna brings something positive to the singer's life.

The Hollywood Reporter caught up with series creator/EP Callie Khouri to discuss Rayna's romantic interests, hope for romance with Deacon and what's in the cards for Juliette (Hayden Panettiere), Avery (Jonathan Jackson) and Scarlett (Clare Bowen).

Rayna has three love interests right now. How will we see her love life further complicated?

It's really nice to see her with these options. I think she's a character that is really on a journey. Each of these guys represents a different aspect of herself. We're enjoying having Luke around -- she's getting to be with a guy who is way less complicated than Deacon. We always joke Luke is like Deacon with no baggage. He's more of an equal for her. He's someplace she can really be herself and all that she is. He knows what it's like to be a superstar. With Teddy, she was the breadwinner and the star of the family. With Deacon, she was the boss and there was that unrequited love. She doesn't owe him anything and he doesn't owe her anything. Liam is the guy you hope somebody gets to have a fun fling with.

Rayna has been a traditional country music star for years. She reached a point where her audience wasn't really responding to the last couple albums. She had to reinvent herself, and Liam is a perfect person to come across when you're trying to do that because he helps empower her.

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Is a Rayna-Deacon reunion inevitable?

They're parents together so they have to come to some kind of a workable relationship for Maddie's sake for sure. We keep it fluid and loose so we'll see. We haven't really decided.

Juliette has the bulls-eye on her back again, only this time, you're rooting for her.

This is a woman with layers. When the show started, everybody thought they had Juliette pegged. She's so much more than meets the eye and she does not want to be underestimated.

Avery and Scarlett aren't on the best footing right now.

No, they're not. Scarlett is really floundering. Scarlett was a character who came to Nashville to be with her boyfriend, who disappeared before her very eyes and turned into somebody else. At the same time, she turned into somebody else. But it wasn't like she moved to Nashville to be a country music superstar. She was a waitress and a poet and sang in church. She hadn't even written songs before she met Gunnar. All the sudden, this thing happens for her and it's like somebody telling her, "Here, hold this," and it happens to be a train that's leaving the station. She's got a lot to deal with.

How will we see Juliette and Avery's relationship progress?

We keep a lot of the relationships very fluid. We like to see the chemistry with the characters and where they go. Even though we have long season arcs, we're on an episode-to-episode basis and give ourselves a little latitude.

How would you describe the season finale?

The finale this season won't be as physical; it will be very emotional this year.

Nashville airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit