nashville, luke wheeler, will chase, season 5While cancelled ABC drama "Nashville" has been revived by CMT for its upcoming fifth season, not everyone from the cast will be making the move to basic cable.

TVLine reports that two series regulars are departing the show: Will Chase, who played Rayna's former fiancee Luke Wheeler, and Aubrey Peeples, who played the scheming up-and-comer Layla Grant, will no longer be with the series when it makes its CMT debut. No official reason was given for the exits, and producer Lionsgate TV declined to comment on TVLine's report.

The move is a bit jarring, if not entirely unexpected. Both characters didn't have much to do over the course of season four, with awkward, repetitive arcs defining them in recent months. And both Luke and Layla's season finale storylines seemed pretty close-ended: Luke, having successfully defended Will from homophobic backlash, decided to return to his ex-wife (a head-scratching move when that character was never seen -- or even named -- on the show before); Layla, meanwhile, got her comeuppance when Avery discovered her revenge scheme against Juliette (and her manager, Glenn, promptly dumped her).

It's unknown at this point if any other actors will follow Chase and Peeples out the door, though previous reports indicated that all the major stars of the show -- including Connie Britton, Charles Esten, and Hayden Panettiere -- were still under long-term contract for the series. The season four finale left the fate of Panettiere's Juliette up in the air, which some reports speculate may have been in part to accommodate the actress's ongoing struggle with postpartum depression. It's unclear how Panettiere's treatment will affect her role going forward (and if it will affect the season five premiere date).

Season five of "Nashville" will also see new showrunners join the series, with the team of Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick ("My So-Called Life," "thirtysomething") taking the reins. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

[via: TVLine]

Nashville
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