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
Richards will have a recurring role
playing Allyson Del Lago, a “tough but understanding” physical
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
In 2012, Richards launched We Happy
Trans, a website that “celebrates the positive experiences of
“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
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.”