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TCA 2012: ABC's 'Nashville' More Than Just Country Music

Cast of ABC's Nashville

Not a fan of country music? Don’t worry. Nashville has something for everyone. Recap from the Nashville Panel during the Disney/ABC Television Group Summer Press Tour at the Television Critic’s Association.

Cast of ABC's Nashville

Not a fan of country music? Don’t worry. Nashville has something for everyone.

Country music is simply the backdrop for this complex show about women struggling to stay afloat amid personal, family, and career drama. The stars of the show, Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, star as two country singers. Britton is the former queen of country while Panettiere is racing to steal her crown.

At their TCA panel, the executive producer, R.J. Cutler told reporters the focus of the series is on the characters. “With the music, drama, family story, music business, political world, at the core of it is these relationships and they drive through everything.”

This doesn’t mean the show will stray from its Nasvhille roots. “We’ve focused on our cast of real country artists – it’s not a guest show; the fabric of Nashville is the fabric of our show,” Cutler explained. “The musicians in the pilot are real Nashville musicians who are greatly respected there and known and known by country music people there. It’s not a cameo driven show.”

Creator, writer, and executive producer Callie Khouri added that given the popularity of music-themed television shows it was time for a series set in country music. “There’s a great love of music in the past few years and audiences are really accepting and hungry for great music. Nashville will have lots of original music.” There is a soundtrack in the works, but the details have yet to be worked out so there’s no release date yet.

Britton and Panettierre are aware of the allusions to country music stars today, notably the careers of Reba McEntire and Taylor Swift. “I ran into Reba on a plane and she said, ‘Did you hear you’re playing me in your show?’ I had no idea!” Britton said. “For me, it’s an amalgam of a lot of different people but I think it’s fun to take from that sort of palate and really let this lone character emerge.”

This isn’t the first time Britton has played a southern lady. She starred in the amazing and underrated show Friday Night Lights for give seasons, but notes that her character is different from Tami. “Her accent is going to be different. There probably won’t be so many y’alls!”

“I’ve heard Taylor Swift,” Panettiere said, “and aside from being same age and blonde – not even height! – I think once you get to know Juliette a little better, you’ll see that. I think Taylor would disagree, she’s much nicer!”

As for viewers who are wary of the show because of the Nashville connection, Panettiere says viewers will see how different genres of music impact country. “You don’t have to be a fan of country music – there’s soul, blues, bluegrass – it’s America. I think people will come to find they like this kind of music, even if you don’t [traditionally] like that kind of music.”

Nashvillepremieres Wednesday, October 10 at 10 p.m.

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About the author

Amber Cunigan

Amber Cunigan is a sarcastic mid-twenties undergrad, extreme book hoarder, Netflix addict, and reality TV aficionado. She enjoys excessive amounts of chocolate and caffeine, tweeting, and all things Ezra Fitz and Ryan Gosling. When it comes to TV, she expects to be thoroughly entertained and when not, she will slam and mock you, but still tune in next week. She's a glutton for punishment. Basically, she's awesome.