March 9, 2013

THE SKED @ PALEYFEST 2013: “Nashville”


Whether because of deliberate stonewalling by NASHVILLE producers and cast, or because, as series creator Callie Khouri suggested, the scripts are so far behind that they don’t know themselves how the season will end–or a mixture of both–there were no disclosures at all at today’s PaleyFest session for the show about what will happen in the last 8 episodes.  (The episode screened was last week’s, with a few promo-length scraps of the March 27 episode at the end, revealing little more than that Deacon keeps his new dog.)  Nor was there any discussion of the show’s problematic ratings.  The potential for a Season 2 renewal never came up, although the chances seem strong despite Nashville routinely running behind CSI and more recently Chicago Fire in its timeslot, mostly because of critical approval, ancillary success (1.5M music downloads sold), strong female demos and the general failure of all ABC’s other freshman shows this season.

So there’s no particular news to report from today’s panel.  There was, however, a great deal of modesty and charm on display from the cast members in attendance, including Connie Britton (Rayna), Hayden Panettiere (Juliette), Claire Bowen (Scarlett), Charles Esten (Deacon), Sam Palladio (Gunnar), and Jonathan Jackson (Avery).  (It may have been a sign of the predominantly female crowd that Esten got at least as big an ovation as marquee stars Britton and Panettiere.)  Praise was heaped by all on Khouri and particularly on Executive Music Producer T Bone Burnett (not present), for guiding the cast through what was for most of them the unfamiliar world of professional singing.  Panettiere, in particular, professed an awful lifelong case of stage fright, and credited Burnett for finally helping her get over it.  (It certainly wasn’t evident today.)

There was also unanimous appreciation for the welcome Nashville has gotten from the city of Nashville, where the series is shot, and specifically for the approval of the actual country music community.  (Esten got the biggest laugh of the afternoon when he talked about Britton peppering the TV back-up band, made up of genuine country musicians, as to how real to life the show was being–later, when she lost her temper and snapped at someone, the whole band confirmed:  “That’s real.”)  Apart from what was for many the surprise revelation that Palladio is English–the fact that Bowen is Australian seemed to be known–the rest of the discussion was as free of shockers and as comfortable as a birthday spent watching Old Yeller.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."