"Nashville" fans went from singing country tunes to singing the blues when ABC cancelled the Music City soap earlier this year. Thankfully, the folks at CMT swooped in to save the series, and season five was officially a go. Now, production has finally begun on the new episodes, and the network is celebrating by sharing some behind the scenes photos of the table read for the season premiere.

The official "Nashville" Twitter account posted a trio of pics marking the occasion, sharing photos of the front of the script and a handful of cast members laughing as they thumb through its pages. The snaps reveal that the episode is called "The Wayfaring Stranger," and is written by new showrunner Marshall Herskovitz, from a story by both Herskovitz and co-showrunner Edward Zwick. Former showrunner (and "Nashville" creator) Callie Khouri is directing the installment.

But the images are also notable for what's missing -- namely Connie Britton, who plays country queen and label head Rayna Jaymes. Britton's involvement in season five is a bit up in the air, with previous reports indicating that she'd only signed on for 10 of the 22 new episodes, and may be poised to leave the show entirely. CMT is reportedly hoping to hammer out a deal for the actress to appear in more episodes, so we don't know for sure just how much Rayna to expect this season, or whether or not she'll even star in the premiere episode. We do know, however, that Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) will have a major storyline that could perhaps become the main focus of the series.

Stay tuned. "Nashville" returns to the airwaves on January 5.

[via: Nashville]