7:38pm PT by Kate Stanhope, Lesley Goldberg
'Nashville': Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere and More Returning for Season 5
The producers behind Nashville are singing a happy tune.
As expected, stars Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere and seven other castmembers have signed new deals to return for the country music drama's upcoming fifth season, sources confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
The other returning series regulars include Charles Esten, Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson, Clare Bowen, Lennon Stella, Maisy Stella and Chris Carmack. The nine-person ensemble has signed on for 22 new episodes, which will debut on CMT after four seasons on ABC.
CMT and Lionsgate, which co-produces the series with ABC Studios, declined to comment.
As previously reported, now-former series regulars Will Chase and Aubrey Peeples will not be returning for the upcoming season. Esten, Palladio, Jackson and Bowen have been series regulars since the show's inception, while the Stella sisters and Carmack were promoted in the show's second season.
The news comes weeks after CMT officially picked up a fifth season of the now-former ABC drama in a pact made that will allow Hulu to keep next-day streaming rights. ABC surprised many in May when it cut the veteran series despite its small but loyal fanbase.
Panettiere's future on the show was particularly in question after the major cliffhanger in the season-four finale. Earlier in the season, the actress missed several episodes when she sought treatment for postpartum depression.
When Nashville returns for season five, it will be with two new showrunners. Executive producers Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (My So-Called Life, thirtysomething) will replace longtime showrunner Dee Johnson.
Nashville is expected to return with new episodes sometime this fall.
The news was first reported by TVLine.