The fifth season of Nashville begins next week with more diversity in its cast.

ABC canceled the country music drama in May after four seasons. Roughly a month later, CMT announced that it would broadcast the show's fifth season, consisting of 22 episodes. Season 5 also will be available on streaming service Hulu.

Joining the cast in the new season are out actor Murray Bartlett and transgender actress Jen Richards.

Bartlett, who played Dom Basaluzzo for two seasons on HBO's gay drama Looking, will have a recurring role playing Jakob Fine, a “very handsome, charismatic and successful men's fashion designer,” Deadline Hollywood reported.

Richards will have a recurring role playing Allyson Del Lago, a “tough but understanding” physical therapist.

Richards co-wrote and starred in the Emmy-nominated series Her Story. Other credits include E!'s I Am Cait, Logo's Beautiful As I Want To Be and AOL's True Trans with Laura Jane Grace. She will also appear in CBS' upcoming series Doubt, whose stars include transgender actress Laverne Cox.

In 2012, Richards launched We Happy Trans, a website that “celebrates the positive experiences of transgender people.”

“We wanted to explore the diversity of music that's going on in Nashville,” showrunner Marshall Herskovitz told the AP. “To bring in people of different ethnicities and from different backgrounds just felt important.”

Richards said that the addition of a transgender character on a show such as Nashville “can make a big difference.”

“Something like Nashville, which is very popular in middle America and in the South, it's going to reach people who might not have known anything about trans folks or ever seen one or met one or gotten to know their stories,” she said. “So this kind of thing can make a big difference.”