'Nashville' just found a new network after ABC canceled it

Nashville finds new home at CMTLionsgate TVHayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes, left, and onnie Britton as Rayna James on ‘Nashville.’

“Nashville” just scored an encore performance.

After the series was canceled by ABC, cable network CMT has picked it up for a fifth season.

To celebrate the news, “Nashville” star Charles Esten, other cast members, and CMT host Cody Alan will take part in a concert in Nashville on Friday. More details on that will be released.

Produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios, and Opry Entertainment, “Nashville” will also continue to stream new episodes on Hulu the day after they air on CMT.

“CMT heard the fans. The wave of love and appreciation they have unleashed for ‘Nashville’ has been overwhelming,” CMT president Brian Philips said in a statement. “‘Nashville’ is a perfect addition to our evolving line-up of big music specials, documentaries, and original series. We see our fans and ourselves in this show and we will treasure it like no other network. Nashville belongs on CMT.”

The show’s salvation can be credited to the efforts of Lionsgate TV. The production studio hadn’t given up on the show after ABC canceled it. When the decision was made by ABC, Lionsgate television group chairman Kevin Beggs wrote to employees, “We’re looking for a new home. We never give up on a great show.”

Why try so hard to bring back “Nashville”? With four seasons on ABC, a fifth season would make it ripe for syndication. That means years of profits for the studios and residual checks for its cast.

Despite its cult audience, “Nashville” had long been on the bubble for cancellation at ABC. Season four averaged just 4.2 million viewers and did poorly in the demographic most important to advertisers, viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 years old.

The series stars Connie Britton as Rayna James, an ageing country-music star faced with the competition of up-and-coming singer Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere).

“Nashville” isn’t the first series to jump networks after being canceled this year. CBS canceled “Supergirl” because it felt its ratings didn’t justify the cost of making the series. But it got another shot at CBS’s sister network, The CW.

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