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Here's what to expect from the show.

We’re counting down the days until Nashville Season 5 officially kicks off on Jan. 5 on CMT, and if this interview with new showrunner Marshall Herskovitz is any indication, it’ll be well worth the wait!

According to Herskovitz, you’ll notice a few key changes this season, including a significantly slower pace, the departure of two series regulars, and a few fresh faces—decisions that were made to help increase the depth of the storytelling.

“When I say 'slowing down,' I want to make sure that it's clear . . . you don't try and tell seven stories in one episode, you try and tell two or three stories in one episode,” Herskovitz explained. “For instance, if I'm telling stories about Scarlett and Gunnar, I can’t tell a complete story about them in every episode because I'm using episodes to tell other people's stories. So the rate at which we tell the Scarlett-Gunnar overarching story slows down. It's not that the episodes feel slow, it's that we just take longer to complete these story arcs.”

It’s a much-needed change of pace for Nashville, especially since so many characters simply weren’t given enough time to evolve, or their storylines felt extraneous. That’s why actors Aubrey Peeples and Will Chase (Layla Grant and Luke Wheeler) won’t be returning to the series full-time.

However, there will be some Nashville newcomers whose characters will expand and enhance the remaining plotlines, including newcomer Rhiannon Giddens, who plays Hallie Jordan. Rayna’s daughter Maddie will also get a new love interest this season.

It’ll be interesting to see where Herskovitz takes the drama after its departure from ABC, and how he answers the biggest question of all: What happened to Juliette?

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