nashville, cast, stars, main stars, connie britton, hayden panettiere, rayna james, juliette barnesAfter two recurring characters were cut from the series, it seems that the rest of the "Nashville" cast is safe, according to a pair of new reports.

TVLine initially reported on Wednesday that headlining stars Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere would return for season five of the show when it moves to CMT later this year. Other major members of the ensemble set to return, the site said, include Charles Esten, Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson, Clare Bowen, Lennon Stella, Maisy Stella, and Chris Carmack.

The Hollywood Reporter later reported the same information, saying it had confirmed the news through independent sources. A spokesperson for Lionsgate TV declined to comment to either THR or TVLine; CMT also declined to comment on THR's report.

The return of those nine key cast members comes after both Will Chase and Aubrey Peeples -- who played Luke Wheeler and Layla Grant -- departed the show last week.

"Nashville" was canceled by ABC earlier this year after four seasons, though the show eventually found new life when CMT agreed to pick it up for a fifth season. The season four finale ended on a cliffhanger concerning the fate of Panettiere's character Juliette Barnes; at the time, it was unclear whether or not the actress would return to the show right away -- or at all -- as she continues to seek treatment for postpartum depression. Now, it looks like Juliette will definitely be back after all.

According to THR, season five of "Nashville" will consist of 22 episodes. There's no premiere date yet, but it's expected to debut on CMT sometime this fall.

[via: TVLine, The Hollywood Reporter]

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