Get ready, y’all.
“Nashville” returns for a second season on Wednesday, September 25 at 10/9c on ABC. When we last left our country crooners, Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) was reeling from her mother’s death, while Rayna (Connie Britton) dealt with the consequences of everyone finding out that Deacon (Charles Esten), not her ex-husband Teddy (Eric Close), is Maddie’s (Lennon Stella) father. Teddy found out Peggy (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) is pregnant with his child and Deacon went back to the bottle despite an intervention by his niece Scarlett (Clare Bowen). In the season finale’s final moments, Rayna and Deacon were in a fiery car crash.
“The set-up of Season 1 was stuff based in the past sort of bubbling back up to the surface,” executive producer and showrunner Dee Johnson told xfinityTV. “But by the end of Season 1, it was all out in the open. So I think Season 2 is about moving forward, not looking backward.”
Here’s what you need to know about the second season of “Nashville”:
1. Rayna won’t be in a coma for long. The second season will kick off with the immediate aftermath of the accident and Rayna in the hospital. Then the episode will skip ahead a few weeks. Even though she survives physically, the accident will leave some emotional damage. “We really felt that we were working toward something that was really a metaphor for [Deacon and Rayna’s] relationship, which was passionate and crazy and ultimately damaging,” Johnson said. “We wanted Rayna’s character to experience something in the first episode that kind of brought her to the other side of it. She’s got to make a change. The ironic part, of course, is that Deacon and Rayna are now, in a way, more tethered than ever. They do have a child together and that ties you to somebody, whether you like or not, forever.”
2. Juliette won’t be the hottest thing in country music anymore. Aubrey Peeples (“Sharknado”) has been cast as Layla Grant, a 19-year-old reality show winner well on her way to stardom. “Even though Juliette is only 24 years old, there’s still somebody nipping at her heels,” Johnson said. Given all that Juliette went through last year (her mom died, her boyfriend stole money from her, her quickie marriage and divorce), Juliette will throw herself into her work. She’ll also continue to pursue a friendship with Avery (Jonathan Jackson). It will be, Johnson said, the first time Juliette is friends with a man she hasn’t slept with. But Juliette will get romance in the form of a wealthy billionaire played by British actor Charlie Bewley (“Vampire Diaries”).
3. Welcome to being a series regular, b*tch. Chris Carmack (“The O.C.”), who guest starred last season as closeted aspiring singer Will Lexington, joins the cast full time. Johnson said he’ll continue to be in deep denial about his homosexuality as he pursues fame. “He will bed as many women as possible to hope, hope, hope that it’s going to click,” she said. Lennon and Maisy Stella, the real-life sisters who play Rayna’s daughters Maddie and Daphne, have also been bumped up to series regulars. Maddie will struggle with the revelation that Deacon, not Teddy, is her father. “Her whole world has been turned upside down on every parenting level so she’s got a lot to wrestle with,” Johnson said. “And it’s a question how much she wants to explore the relationship [with Deacon] and also how much he is available to allow that to happen.”
4. A bunch of new characters are moving in. Oliver Hudson (“Rules of Engagement”) will guest star as the new head of Rayna’s record label. “He goes head-to-head with Rayna,” Johnson said. “They’re very oil and vinegar.” Will Chase (“Smash”) will play Luke, a country music star and love interest for Rayna. “He is Rayna’s peer and then some musically-speaking and she hasn’t had that sort of involvement in her past,” Johnson said. “This is a new world that she’s stepping into in terms of any kind of public dating situation.” Chaley Rose will also come aboard as Scarlett’s childhood friend Zoey and she’ll quickly become part of Scarlett and Gunnar’s (Sam Palladio) world. And how will Gunnar and Scarlett’s fledgling romance fare? “They have this amazing chemistry together but not a lot of longevity in terms of relationship and that puts them in a very interesting place,” Johnson said. “Whereas if you look at Scarlett’s relationship with Avery, he was her first love and I think vice versa. And you always hold a special place in your heart for someone like that.”
5. Things are not going to be easy for Teddy. Johnson was most tight-lipped when talking about what’s in store for Nashville’s new mayor, who has broken all ties with Rayna’s dad Lamar (Powers Booth). “That’s both a good and bad thing in the public eye,” Johnson said. Teddy has much larger aspirations than being mayor but he also has a pregnant ex-mistress to deal with. Johnson declined to say how that situation might be resolved but Kimberly Williams-Paisley will return as the unstable Peggy Kenter.
Season 2 of “Nashville” premieres Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 10/9c on ABC.