'Nashville' Music Guru T Bone Burnett Won't Return for Season 2 (Exclusive)

He'll focus on upcoming projects and leave the series to Buddy Miller.
Getty Images
T Bone Burnett

When ABC's Nashville returns for its second season, the country music drama will be without the services of T Bone Burnett.

The show's executive music producer will not be returning to the series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Burnett, who is married to Nashville creator Callie Khouri, oversaw the creation of more than 100 original recordings and personally produced or co-produced dozens of original songs featured on the Connie Britton/Hayden Panettiere drama.

PHOTOS: Broadcast TV's Returning Shows 2013-14

"His slate of other film, television and recording projects would have made it impossible for him to return for a second season," Burnett's manager said in a statement, noting the busy producer initially only planned to stay for one season. "He became close to many of the actors on Nashville, and wishes all of them -- as well as the show’s producers, writers and crew -- all the best with the coming season."

In addition to guiding the show's musical direction, Burnett also co-composed the score for each of the show's 21 episodes. Buddy Miller, who was Burnett's No. 2 during Nashville's freshman run, will now take over the role. 

Burnett is currently prepping music for the Coen brothers feature Inside Llewyn Davis, a biopic of the singer-songwriter who navigates New York's folk music scene in the 1960s. Oscar Isaac stars as Davis, with Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake among the cast.

"T Bone's schedule this year is so overwhelming with the Llweyn Davis movie coming out and several other producing projects that he has: Elton John's record and so on," Khouri told THR. "We're going to do Nashville's second season with Buddy and some of the other producers that we worked with. T Bone set the gold standard for the show. His commitment to the quality of the music, the sound for the characters and all of that was something that we were very lucky to get him for."

Despite heavy buzz at the start of the season, Nashville didn't become the ratings performer that ABC had hoped for against competition from NBC's Chicago Fire and CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in its Wednesday 10 p.m. slot. Critics, meanwhile, have favorably responded to the music featured on the series, with two soundtracks released thus far. Nashville returns in the fall on ABC.

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com
Twitter: @Snoodit