Update: Sadly, ABC decided to cancel Nashville recently, with some hope of it finding another home, though that hasn't happened yet. The Season 4 finale is, for now, the series finale. To see how star Connie Britton feels about it, head here. The original article is below.
Nashville is a show that is very much on the bubble between cancellation and renewal at this point. The show earns below-average ratings at the network, although it generally has a pretty steady audience. Because of this, it was not one of the shows to earn early renewals from ABC this winter. But there may yet be cause for hope. The ABC drama has already locked down two brand new showrunners for a potential Season 5. Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick have taken on the task.
So, does this mean that ABC is out there and willing to state that Nashville is renewed for Season 5? Not totally. But is this a good sign that the production is already formulating a plan for a fifth season? Yes, absolutely. Which means it is very hopeful that Nashville will live to hit five seasons and totally jump past that big 100th episode milestone, which it would achieve during a fifth season. TV Line notes that Marshall Herskovitz and EdZwick are expected to replace current showrunner Dee Johnson, who is leaving at the end of Season 4.
You may not immediately recognize the names Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, but they’ve been around the TV block for a long time. They are responsible for a lot of well-liked series, including but not limited to My So-Called Life and Once and Again. More recently, they’ve had their hands in feature films, producing flicks like Pawn Sacrifice and The Birth of a Nation. They should be a good fit for Nashville Season 5, should the show get renewed.
Ratings for Nashville have been down a bit during Season 4. The last episode, in fact, only did a little over 4 million total viewers and a .9 rating in the 18-49 demographic. However, Nashville has done big business in the Live+7 day ratings. Its fall finale, for instance, saw the biggest percentage increase in the ratings compared to all the other network TV shows. The fall finale initially did a .8 rating and then jumped up a whopping 125% to a 1.8 rating. Other shows obviously do bigger total ratings, but that’s still an impressive little number.
So, with new showrunners signed on, it’s looking more and more likely that Nashville will earn that Season 5 order. If it does move forward, it will join the likes of Quantico, Grey’s Anatomy, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Once Upon A Time as shows that are returning next year.
Early renewals have been a trend on network television this season (although they’ve been common on cable and subscription cable channels for a while). On the opposite end of the spectrum, early cancellations haven't come as quickly, with shows like Blood & Oil seeing their episode orders cut rather than axed right away. Still, we should be hearing about what shows will be back next year over the next couple of months, as the networks begin to make decisions about what the 2016-2017 TV schedule will look like.