nashville, season 5, premiereWhile country music series "Nashville" has featured plenty of drama on-screen throughout its first four seasons, it's also seen its fair share of drama off-screen, too. Back in May, ABC cancelled the show, which ended its season four finale on a huge cliffhanger, and several weeks went by before a new home was found. Thankfully, cable net CMT swooped in to save the day, and to celebrate, the show is releasing the first half of its two-part season five premiere several weeks early.

The episode, which is slated to run for two hours, was originally set to debut in early January. Now, CMT will air the first hour on Thursday, December 15 at 9 p.m. Actor Charles Esten, who plays Deacon Claybourne on the series, appeared in a video addressing "Nashville" fans to share the exciting news."To all you Nashies out there, as a thanks for saving our show, we're gonna give you the first hour of our two-hour premiere early," Esten said in the clip. "Enjoy."

The premiere will pick up where things left off in the season four finale, revealing that Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) was in a plane crash. The season five promo also promised that the episode will focus on the relationship between Scarlett (Clare Bowen) and Gunnar (Sam Palladio), as well as Maddie's (Lennon Stella) return to her family after her emancipation last season.

Tune in for part one on December 15. The entire season five premiere airs on CMT on January 5.

[via: Nashville/Facebook]

Photo credit: Peggy Sirota/CMT