The big cliffhanger for Nashville was settled around midnight last Friday, when ABC announced it was renewing the show for a third season. (And some suggest that could be a sign in favor of a fourth, thanks to the demands of syndication.) If reports are true, blame haggling over Tennessee's tax code and patchwork film/TV incentives for the close call. But tonight's second-season finale still leaves plenty of room for drama.
"Last year we had a big life-or-death cliffhanger. This year we're looking at a more emotional one," executive producer Dee Johnson told TV Guide. A prime element will be a major concert presented by Rayna (Connie Britton) in a last-ditch attempt to salvage her record label. The concert will be at LP Field and highlight what's been the show's most successful marketing element: its music.
Other questions linger, some of which will be answered. These include the new direction for troubled songstress Scarlett (Clare Bowen); the fate of the relationship between Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) and Avery (Jonathan Jackson), now that shifty label boss Jeff Fordham (Oliver Hudson) has, shall we say, exercised his option on her; how the sham marriage of gay country singer Will (Chris Carmack) will withstand the scrutiny of reality TV; and whether Rayna and Deacon (Charles Esten) can ever resolve their differences and reunite.
Still, the show's renewal means that fans can enjoy these dilemmas with a degree of relief. Nashville finished third in USA Today's recent "Save Our Shows" survey; it has a fervent fan base, and a new collection of music from the show was in the Billboard Top 10 albums survey last week. Those factors, plus the prospect of 22 more episodes, indicate we'll have Rayna, Juliette & Co. as fictional neighbors for at least another year to come.
Watch Country Life for the last Ashley Spurgeon recap of the season.