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ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey On Why NASHVILLE and CASTLE Were Axed From Fall Line-Up!

Photo: CBSNashvilleGetty

Photo: CBSNashvilleGetty

Soap fans were shocked and saddened by the news last week that both the primetime soap opera, Nashville, and the enduring Castle, were cancelled by the ABC Television Network, and would not be returning for the fall.

For daytime audiences, both shows featured beloved actor: Jonathan Jackson (Avery, Nashville and Ex-Lucky, GH) anf Nathan Fillion (Richard Castle, Castle, and Ex-Joey, OLTL), which made it all the more of a stinger.

In a conference call, new ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey explained to the press the network’s decision to ax the dramas from the fall line-up.

Dungey expressed:  “The studios in each case were looking for the best creative and financial ways to help their shows get another season, making plans should they get orders.  In terms of what we were discussing internally on the network side, it was (what was) best for the schedule and, obviously, looking at ratings, looking at our own planning and looking at some of the new development.  A lot of the decisions came down to the wire.  At the end of the day — even though both Castle and Nashville have been wonderful shows and great performers — we felt that the future for us didn’t necessarily lie in these shows.”

So do you think ABC made the wrong call based on their rationale for cancelling Nashville and Castle? Comment below!

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Don GoldingcrazeebeachbumchristineDebbie KJay Recent comment authors
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abby
abby

well then again, I guess that an ABC show in the future doesn’t necessarily lie in any ABC shows in my household…I have to assume that you people read all the media sites be it on facebook, snapchat or anywhere else and people are just not happy that you are screwing around with shows that we all love, but I guess when it comes down to it you obviously don’t give a damn what we like or don’t, its all a matter of money and what good for you to keep your pockets lined.. shame on you…this is one house that will not be watching anything other than GH from ABC, that is until you decide that’s also not necessarily in your future.

JK
JK

PERFECTLY SAID!!!!! THE NETWORK COULD CARE LESS WHAT WE VIEWERS WANT TO SEE…..THIS IS ANOTHER HOUSE THAT WILL ONLY BE WATCHING GH….. UNTIL THEY DUMP IT……..LINE YOUR POCKETS ABC AND KEEP LOSING VIEWERS.

Soaphound
Soaphound

EXACTLY, JK. I can’t wait to see what drivel they replace NASHVILLE with. Let me guess….TEENAGE BACHELORETTE or GRANDPA BACHELOR or, even worse, another inane game show? It’s been a while since I’ve been this angry over a show’s cancellation. They renew a fine show like AMERICAN CRIME and then dump Rayna? Is that like giving with one hand and taking away with the other? SHAME ON YOU, ABC!

crazeebeachbum
crazeebeachbum

100% agree! I am so tired of choosing the shows, that I’m going to be completely “fan faithful” to & then after I spend the first several seasons falling in love with characters;loving to hate them or just loving to love them….It gets ripped out from under me! Why would I EVER again start watching another series on ABC??? If I can’t have the pleasure of watching Nashville, then I’m done! I will also stop watching General Hospital too! They do the same thing with that show (it’s become a million % worse in last 10 years) only with GH, it’s the actors they replace. I’m just done taking a chance & then truly loving a show & the actors (don’t kill off so many characters.it’s dumb to do it constantly) just to have ABC take it all away! You, the big bosses at ABC, do know we have lots & lots of network choices now,& you won’t be on my schedule if you take shows like Nashville away! I was over the moon when you finally gave Jonathan Jackson a great gig. One that finally allowed him to spread his amazing acting wings & his unbelievable musical talent all at the same time! You have had Jonathan since he was a kid & finally he is showing the fans how much more he is! Now you yank that away! The chemistry alone with Jonathan & Hayden is enough to keep us hooked. I guess that’s all the venting I have left. I’m so disappointed that ABC doesn’t realize, that we have the power & if you cancel our show(s) then we & all those we know will do the same… Not watch anything on ABC. I might even change my morning news choice. That is how tired of this action ABC keeps doing. Good luck; if you don’t hear our plea & keep Nashville ( the people that watch your shows) then you’re definitely going to need loads of it, luck that is! Trust me,it’s all over social media & peeps are really angry with ABC, we feel betrayed, again!

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

Of course it’s all about money. They’re a business, not a charitable organization. And they care very much what people want to see…that’s how they make a profit. Not care as in empathy, but as in getting their fingers on the pulse of what will bring in larger ratings.

With that said I’m beyond disappointed that Nashville was canceled. I love the show and it’s difficult to fathom how it didn’t draw more viewers. The talent was overflowing and it had it all…music, romance, rivalry, social issues, drama, family, friendship…And while I also agree that the show was more riveting in the first few seasons, it was still way above many of the shows that are still thriving or lasted longer. Lol…honey boo boo comes to mind…right along with Jerry Springer. Lowest common denominator seems to be the ticket to ratings…

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

If one is to believe that even an iota of the gossip that came down, the “Castle” was torn down from within, but ABC PTB simply put the last nail in the coffin (to mix metaphors) by firing Stana Katic.

Do this scenario seem familiar? Well, yes! Another famous couple on GH with instant and abiding chemistry–just like Nathan and Stana (“Castle” and “Kate”)–was also destroyed by ego–and kowtowing by TPTB. Oh, you guessed already? Guess what? You are right. Wait for it–the characters of Luke and Laura.

Seems the suits at ABC never learn–just keeping making the same fatal mistakes over and over. Well, viewers have l–o–n–g memories. Need I say more?

Chris Keller
Chris Keller

Yes I think they made a HUGE mistake with canceling Nashville…Hoping another network will scoop them up…its a great show with great actors!!

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Nashville was doomed after the first season when T. Bone Burnett left and when the story began to sprawl and lose focus–the focus should have remained on the characters of Connie Britton and Charles Esten. And, when they killed Rayna’s father off, played by the wonderful actor Powers Boothe, they put a huge nail in Nashville’s coffin.

Seems Connie Britton got involved in a lot of other projects (though she was listed as an executive producer of Nashville, and the writers never rightly brought Jonathan Jackson’s character in focus. Too bad–he’s a good actor. GH, bring him back so that he can work with Genie Francis.

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

I agree Chris. I was so bummed watching last night’s episode…knowing next week is the series finale. The episode was soooooo good! So much story left to tell, the acting terrific..the music woven into the fabric of the characters lives. Absolutely heartbroken over losing this show. There are petitions going around to save it if you want to sign.

Jan
Jan

No wonder ABC is going down and worse net work take every good show away!!! Very sad!!!

Christine Henderson
Christine Henderson

ABC won’t rest until they eliminate all of the daytime and evening drama shows. I read that they hired a new executive and she hates the idea of soaps. With the exception of GH, I will not watch another show on ABC. I boycotted them since they cut two of my favorite shows and only watched GH and Nashville. I only how that ABC gets what it truly deserves.

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

I read that too some time ago-ABC no longer want continuing dramas because they are harder to sell in syndication!!!

Mo
Mo

Castle is airing on other channels so they were able to sell it.

Mo
Mo

It’s a lot of words for saying nothing.

Abruzzfan
Abruzzfan

I agree Mo. Lots of words and he didn’t say anything. What was the point????

Bonnie
Bonnie

That is nonsense, they just v did not want them amymore.
having not watched Castle I can not comment othen then it had a good run. But Nashville which I adored was still a young show. It’s all about ratings, What the network does not count isask other ways people watch. Just on their own time.

I am personally on the crusade to save the show

Julie Zimmerman
Julie Zimmerman

It’s a sad shame that ABC takes off some of the best shows on TV today. First it was All My children and One Life to Live . Do you really want us to tune in to ABC? Why invest my time in watching when you end up cancelling them! Maybe it’s time to switch to CBS or NBC.

Ray
Ray

I am not sure I agree with his logic. The state of Tennessee gave ABC more than $8 million in tax breaks last year to keep the show in “Nashville.” In the past four years, the number of international travelers to the state has quadrupled. The housing market has exploded and venues like “Blue Bird Café,” a prominent nightclub for singer/songwriters is always at capacity with tourists.

I agree the show was slightly unbalanced this past season. But, Hayden P was off the show for several episodes dealing with post-partum depression. Then, new writers were hired for the upcoming season. Now, it has been cancelled, with hundreds of unemployed cast and crew not giving proper notice.

During the past four years, Charles, Jonathan, Sam, Claire, Will and Chris have appeared all over this city, being the best ambassadors for the show. I wish all of them luck in their next venture. I still hope to see the show end up on TBS or a cable channel.

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

I am soooo hoping another station picks it up. Please sign one of the petitions going around.

Cheryl
Cheryl

I think ABC could have given these shows 1 more year, or even 6 more episode each to wrap things up. They have proven once again that we the views do not matter. They could save money by dumping the shows with the lowest ratings which I am sure is not Nashville and Castle. As a long time Castle fan, the ending was horrible. I have seen every episode since day 1. To only allow the writers to add a 30 second snip-it at the end was a disgrace. This is why most of the shows I watch are no longer on ABC.

Amanda
Amanda

I am very veey upset Nashville was canceled. You could have decently let us fans know..not just spru g it up upon us. Not very happy at all!

Mary
Mary

These were two of the only ABC shows I actually liked… Not liking the direction ABC is headed. Bye Felicia…

Julie Asper
Julie Asper

I do think they are wrong! CASTLE is (was) a GREAT show. Been a long time since I found a show that I made sure I saw. I will definitely be missing that one! !!! VERY VERY SAD to see it end! Thanks for the good ending though. It was just how I would like to remember them…Happy and with children.

Sandy henry
Sandy henry

As an avid tv watcher this is sad for prime time. They were 2 shows the entire family watched together every week. We did not watch it without one another. With all of the bachelor and bachelorette and over reality shows I will not be watching prime time.

Sandy henry
Sandy henry

I am also upset about axing The Family and Game of Silence on NBC. I don’t see any reason to continue watching these shows knowing there will not be any closure.

Shay
Shay

@Sandy henry….I also watched “The Family,” well, at least the first episode, because I wanted to see the very accomplished and popular British actor, Rupert Graves, star in this stateside show. It had a really interesting premise, but I wholly expected that it wouldn’t take, just because it required too much of a thought process for people to engage and invest in it. I continued to read the recaps to keep apprised of the plot in the event this drama garnered a renewal, but like I said, it was no surprise that it failed. Sadly, intelligent programming on free networks only seems to attract enough viewers when it’s on PBS, which is why I simply don’t bother with ABC, NBC or CBS anymore. (Although I always live in hope for that to change…if Julian Fellowes’ “The Gilded Age” ever actually makes it to the small screen, I will definitely check it out!)

Jim Preston
Jim Preston

I too was very disappointed to see THE FAMILY get the axe – it was an interesting premise and well acted and nicely directed. I really thought it had a shot but then I realized, wait, this is abc-tv and they cancel everything, oh except The Bachlorette which is inane crap – and of course their Dancin with the Stars (which is a little played out).
They needed to at least give THE FAMILY a season two – and at least tie up some loose ends – it’s like abc-tv just doesn’t know what to do – who the heck makes these decisions?

Elyse M Worth
Elyse M Worth

It makes no sense to cancel Nasville but keep their stupid comedies! That’s fine, I have all the drama on NBC! I hope some other network or platform picks up Nashville. I only watch GH on ABC now. ABC has pissed me off again. First with canceling AMC & OLTL. It seems they don’t even want GH to be great. Most days GH is so boring!! Hopefully, with Jason getting him memories back and with the Nurse’s Ball coming up, we will have some good drama!
I can understand not renewing Castle without Kate; there wouldn’t be Castle!! They are a team! But I’m sure going to miss it!! Loved the finale last night.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

I’ve been reading a lot of criticism about the finale of Castle. I personally liked it–at least the writers threw the faithful viewers a bone! 🙂

Elyse M Worth
Elyse M Worth

They originally were going to kill Kate off if it got picked up for a 9th season. I’m happy that they had an alternate ending for us viewers who have loved Castle and Beckett’s love story.

Marq
Marq

Absolutely the wrong decision to cancel Nashville. GH and Nashville were the only shows I watched on ABC. Now I will only watch GH.

Sandie
Sandie

I’ve watched every episode of both shows. In the case of Castle, with Stana Katic (Beckett) and Tamala Jones (Lanie) leaving the landscape of the show, it made sense not to try and continue. The beauty of the show was the ensemble chemistry. In particular, Castle and Beckett aren’t the same without each other, proven by the attempt to separate them during the season where Beckett went to work in D.C.

For Nashville, however, the cancellation seems like a ridiculous thing to do. Even with Hayden Panettiere (Juliette) off dealing with her personal challenges, that show has a wealth of excellence from which to draw. ABC’s new guy at the helm clearly needs some career counseling. This was a bonehead decision.

Jeanene Hayes
Jeanene Hayes

I know for a fact they made a huge mistake with Nashville! All to keep trashy ,boring reality shows on..it makes no sense! Nashville is one main show my husband and I watch together!

Rodd
Rodd

What did she even say? These PR speaks are so full of air. It causes me to scratch my head because she doesn’t say “why” the shows didn’t “necessarily” fit into where the network was going. If they’re performing and are well liked, why not keep them? Everyone knows it’s more difficult to get an audience for a new show than an established one. There’s just so much more to the story, isn’t there?

Abruzzfan
Abruzzfan

I agree Todd. Look at Grey’s Anatomy which is on its 11th year or so. The ratings were slightly down for several years and then the ratings have picked up in the last year and are now high again.

Rose
Rose

And ABC sabotaged a future for Castle when they didn’t renew Stana/Beckett’s contract for alleged “budget reasons.” As Rodd says more “PR speaks” along with talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Becky
Becky

Yes. ABC has nothing left to watch. They cancelled All My Children, and now Castle. I’m done with them.

Kevin
Kevin

ABC sucks, GH is in trouble. I will not be shocked, if ABC cancels GH next year.

NancyH
NancyH

She really answered the question. Maybe she’s an aspiring politician. Always blame someone else. I fear for GH. Clearly she doesn’t care for soaps. Or the viewers.

Chris G Cirillo
Chris G Cirillo

I am letting the network know that myself along with many others are tired of the networks axing the new TV shows. They are not given enough air time. The demographics they go by is so wrong. The networks discriminate on anyone older!!!!!

Lisa Kulesza
Lisa Kulesza

I love both shows. I was shocked to hear of their cancellations. Very disappointed in ABC. Why must all the good shows go? Take the Bachelor off the air, oh yea you don’t have to pay for the actors,at least I hope not. So far you have lost a viewer for Monday’s@ 10:00 and Wednesday’s @ 10:00. Are you going to crush my Thursdays too? I really think the executives have no clue what their viewers want. They need to rethink this NOW! I don’t care for any shows on Tuesday or even the rest of the days not mentioned. I am sure I am not alone. Guess ABC Network doesn’t care!!!

Cindy K.
Cindy K.

You are right Lisa, you are not alone. I am down to watching two ABC programs on Thursday night and GH. It’s all about the all mighty dollar for the network, not the viewers.

Kate Harris
Kate Harris

Yes ABC is making a HUGE mistake cancelling both Nashville and Castle.
Please find a way to keep them both!!

Iakovos
Iakovos

It may have truly been time for CASTLE but I wish ABC had just worked that through instead of playing games with a possible ninth season and firing Stana Katic. Bungle!

As for NASHVILLE, I will miss the show’s unique sense of place and its talented ensemble. The writing and story direction the last two seasons has been disappointing. I am not sure the producing team made the best choices in light of Hayden Panettiere’s pregnancy and need to be away. This season featured guest stars and story arcs that ended up as filler (the sexy sound op romancing Gunnar, the talented and homeless Veta, Luke’s good buddy who was to join him on tour). Even so, we in the audience got lots of good original music and strong acting. I do think ABC might have missed the boat on passing up a fifth season with the THIRTYSOMETHING/ONCE AND AGAIN showrunners. A successful reboot could have given this show a couple more years.

Chris G Cirillo
Chris G Cirillo

The networks don’t care about the viewers who invest there time watching the new programs only to have them get axed!! We get disgusted if they don’t get axed they are off for months, until they go back on!!!!!! But!!! we wait & wait to continue watching!!!!!! The networks will loose their viewers !!!!!!!!!

Laurie
Laurie

I am not happy that they cancel Nashville I look forward to it every Wednesday at 10 I don’t understand why they cancel all the good shows .

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Nothing to look forward to now at ABC; I watch NONE of the comedies–they are too inane for me.

Lynn
Lynn

I loved Nashville. I looked forward to it every Wednesday night. I hope they find another
Network that will appreciate them. Hey Netflix do you need some country in your show of shows.

K. Ross
K. Ross

I’m with you. I loved Nashville it was different than anything else on TV. Entertaining and the music was great. I thought the same
thing maybe Netflix would pick it up. They picked up Longmire.

sheryl
sheryl

We think this is so sad because those shows are great and very enjoyable to watch Nashville was so entertaining with all those talented actors. Castle was was a good show too.

Donnahollinhead
Donnahollinhead

I think it would be bad mistake not have these shows.There not a good reason behind it.

Patty
Patty

I’m not sure why you cancel the show Nashville but I don’t think that was very thought out. You lost a loyal customer and will not watch ABC at all. You could rethink again and bring it back fir another season!!!

Laura
Laura

So you cancel good shows that you admittedly say we’re good performers for what?? More shows that show violence or stupidity in sitcoms? Do you even know your audience?

Cindy K.
Cindy K.

Amen!

Jayne Brenneman
Jayne Brenneman

This decision makes me want to never watch another show on ABC. Nashville was a favorite of mine. Bad decision.

ADAM
ADAM

Not a good move you lost many viewers, what idiots at ABC!

Kerry
Kerry

bad move .nashville very populayr in australia as well ,Claire bowen tickets to her show sold out in 3 minutes testament to how popular it is !!!!!!!!!

Susan Manning
Susan Manning

I like both shows. I am turning away from ABC

su0000
su0000

Nothing lasts forever..
Nothing lasts forever..
Nothing lasts forever..

Time moves on and into new endeavors, as it should be, evolving.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

But, su0000, evolving to what? As I said above, I watch none of the ABC comedies–just don’t have the patience for the inane. Do you watch?

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Instead of watching the inane comedies on ABC, I find an old movie like–you guessed it!–“It Happened One Night” on a movie channel. What say you?

catj
catj

Ok….so the future of those shows isn’t on ABC’s future schedule. Now the future of your channel isn’t on my schedule. I used to watch primarily ABC but that has changed a lot since so many of the shows I was watching have been getting canceled and usually with no good finale to wind up story lines. I think for this next year that the nights I would normally watch ABC I may just take my time to the movie theater instead.

Instead of canceling “good shows” maybe you can find ways to work with the shows and make them better?????

Rod
Rod

Riduculos ABC doesn’t give a crap about its viewers!!! You just keeping pushing us all to other networks and we won’t invest in your future programming, since you’ll just yank it away when it’s not filling your greedy pockets. I need Greys is WAY OVERDUE for cancellation. That show has run its course!!!

Joanne Cecere
Joanne Cecere

ABC always makes the wrong decision in my opinion……and I know someone who said most of the cast found out on FB, like the rest of us……..how rude!

JK
JK

HORRIBLE MOVE ABC……..EVERYONE STOP WATCHING!!

NELLIE
NELLIE

The day ABC cancelled OLTL and AMC showed their ignorance to their faithful fans. I was just starting to get over this ignorance with Nashville but I guess it’s time for me to view programs on other channels. When they bring back the daytime soaps and keep fan favorite shows on their schedule, I will return. All I have to say to ABC executives ….find a way to bring back fan favorites that works for all. If ABC doesn’t have smart innovative people working for them, they should be replaced.

Sprite
Sprite

ABC doesn’t invest in shows; it invests in rating$. It’s a business. A corporate entity. Human viewers and humanity are not in the company dictionary.

Linda
Linda

Blah, blah, blah! This is why I only watch GH on the rat network!! BOYCOTT ON!

nicholas
nicholas

I wish that these networks thought a bit more about profits that can be made outside of tv programming . Nashville had all these great songs : think about dvd , cd releases not just of the episodes but of the actors releasing song albums etc … You could have had ” Nashville in concert ” or ” Hayden Panetierre in concert ” with some of the profits going to abc . Blooming idiots !

nicholas
nicholas

the tv schedule is first and foremost for the viewers ! time to respect the viewers !

Kathy
Kathy

I really think you should rethink a lot of people will not be watching ABC and I’m one of them.

Jane
Jane

I didn’t like either show however is GH now asking Jonathan Jackson to return as Lucky? That would be nice, maybe he and Elizabeth could work things out since Lucky was just scared to be monster around his / the kids. That’s why he stays away.

Shelly
Shelly

Done with Abc .. We don’t matter we watch these shows for years and don’t even get a decent goodbye … Good luck Abc you need it..

Joan Faist
Joan Faist

Bad move to cancel these shows without giving them time to properly write an ending for the characters.
It is clear again that who ever makes decisions like this at ABC does not care about the viewers. Very bad move ABC!!!!,,

Nashville

NASHVILLE: The Penultimate Episode Leaves Relationships On The Edge

How apropos was the title of last night’s second to last episode of Nashville. Titled:  “I Don’t Want To Lose You” that is how we felt as all the stories and the romance head toward the climatic series conclusion next week.  This show, to us, has always been this diamond in the rough, and now it’s almost time to say goodbye.  But before we do much needs to be resolved, or unresolved.

Here’s what went down:  Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) is secretly pregnant!  Yup, she tells her friend, Hallie that she does not want to tell Avery (Jonathan Jackson), because he is a good man and would come back to her for the sake of the baby, not for her.  And in another bombshell, she reveals during an on-camera press conference that she is going to continue to fight to bring down the “cult” that held her against her will and others, and … wait for it. .. she is retiring from show business!  Avery is shocked to learn this while seeing the press conference on TV.  Meanwhile,  he meets up with Alannah (Rainee Blake) where they kiss, but he also witnessed awkward moments between her and her skivvy music executive, Brad (Jeff Nordling).  Later she is flirty with Brad, but what is really going on?  In a conversation that the audience can not hear, Alannah meets up with Deacon (Charles Esten) to tell him something major.  He reacts shocked and upset.  So, what is Alannah up to?  Is she trying to get the goods on Brad for sexual harassment, or is something else at play?

Later, Avery and Juliette come together after a medical scare for Cadence.  Their daughter is rushed to the hospital with a 104 fever, which turns out to be pneumonia, but she is stable. That moment brings the stat-crossed lovers together in a tender moment, but will they finally get back together once and for all?

Courtesy/CMT

Scarlett (Claire Bowen) and Sean (Jake Etheridge) organize a benefit to save the ranch.  Sean’s wife has had it with Scarlett, because Sean’s mental state has improved since knowing her.  Gunnar (Sam Palladio) has writer’s block, and Will (Chris Carmack) is more than willing to help him out of it.  It’s soooo apparent to us that Will has a thing for Gunnar, and doesn’t Gunnar really for Will?  Would Nashville go there in their series finale …  or will it just end up being Gunnar and Scarlett who profess their love for one another for the 100th time?  After receiving advice from Steve Earle, who makes a guest appearance, Gunnar receives inspiration and a new rocker side of him emerges and is on display at the benefit concert.  Then, Sean and Scarlett sing together.  Later, he kisses her, as his wife is leaving him for good.  Scarlett turns him away and tells him to go back to his wife. He does.

After Maddie (Lennon Stella) challenges Twig to leave Jonah’s clutches once and for all, he does, but not after being ridiculed to the fullest by the snobby pop star.  After Twig reveals to Maddie he quit being Jonah’s flunky, they kiss!

After the benefit concert, Deacon, Maddie, Daphne (Maisy Stella) and Gideon  (Ronny Cox) leave the benefit concert together.  Daphne does not want to ride with Gideon if he is the driver, because she knows he has been drinking.  Good ole’ Deke figures it out and goes into his father’s car and finds the bottle of bourbon after looking at all the “hiding places” that Deacon knows himself all too well.  He then blasts his father: I knew it. I knew you were lying to me,”  He then ends their relationship by shouting: “You’re not my father.”

So, what was your favorite part of last night’s Nashville? Are you ready to see how it all ends in the series finale next Thursday night on CMT? Comment below.

Continue Reading

Interviews

Jonathan Jackson Talks Avery’s Love Quandary, Saying Goodbye To ‘Nashville’ & If He Would Return To General Hospital

With just three weeks before the series finale of CMT’s Nashville, Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson) finds himself in a major conundrum.  The woman he has loved and had a child with, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panetierre) has returned home after escaping a cult compound, just as Avery has opened himself up to the start of a new relationship with Alannah (Rainee Blake).  After not hearing from Juliette, added to the many times he felt she abandoned him and their child, will a betrayed and hurt Avery want to find a way to patch up their relationship … or try to keep Alannah by his side?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with five-time Daytime Emmy winner, Jonathan Jackson to get the lowdown on what transpired over the last few episodes and how it may end for Avery, as we inch closer and closer to having to say farewell to the Music City drama.

Since Nashville wrapped its sixth and final season a few months back, General Hospital fans have been wondering and hoping, if now is the time that Jackson would return to his role as the beloved Lucky Spencer, the son of Luke (Tony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis). Jackson originated the role in 1993 and stayed with the series till 1999.  He next returned in 2009 for a few years, then left again, and was cast on Nashville.  Jonathan made a special return in 2015 to appear in a storyline that reunited him on-screen with Geary one final time, before the soap icon retired from the show.  In this interview, Jackson addresses a return, some of his favorite moments of all-time on GH, what he learned from Tony and Genie, and more.

Those that follow Jackson are aware that his talent knows no bounds.  He is also focused on his music career, and his band Enation, which has been building on its success, playing recent sold out shows in Europe, while Jackson also had been on the final Nashville tour performing with the cast.  So, buckle up!  The next step in Jackson’s career will be one to watch.  Now, check out our insightful and heartfelt conversation below.

Avery is caught in a compromising position by Juliette, when she walks in while Avery is making out with Alannah, who has just has taken her top off.   What goes on in Avery’s mind at that point?  Is it, “Oh, no! I’m busted!” (Laughs)

JONATHAN:  It’s all sorts of things.  There is the visceral reaction, and then in his mind trying to figure what to do.  It’s sort of awkward, because they are in her house and her photos are everywhere (Laughs).  However clumsily and strange it is, he is trying to move on and get a life together with someone, and yet deep down he still has feeling for Juliette, which is mixed with anger and all of that.  He is having all different confusing conflicting emotions, all at the same time, and for Alannah as well.  It’s kind of a mess!

Courtesy/CMT

By the end of this week’s episode, viewers saw Avery and Juliette start to talk, with Avery letting her know just how he feels about her leaving him, and that he has decided to move out.  All Juliette is asking is that he keeps talking to her.  As Nashville moves toward its conclusion, the big question for the character of Avery will be … who is he going to end up with, if anyone?  I would assume many longtime fans would be rooting for Avery and Juliette, because they have gone through so much together.

JONATHAN:  Yes.  However, I have been receiving messages from fans, and talking to fans on tour, and they are slightly conflicted, too.  There is a lot of love for Avery and Juliette, but there is also frustration around the whole thing, and that they want Avery to move on and be happy. 

Courtesy/CMT

Where is Avery at with his relationship with Alannah?  He was getting close to her, and now she is attempting to put distance between them since Juliette resurfaced.

JONATHAN:  It’s difficult to pinpoint where Avery is at right at this moment.  There is a lot going on, and a lot of it is rooted in the fact that he went to Bolivia to try and bring Juliette home, and when she refused him that was so devastating for him.  The Alannah relationship snuck up on him. In some sense his heart is still attached to Juliette, but his mind is telling him it’s over, and that she is gone.  Avery and Alannah are connected to each other on a certain level.  It surprised both of them.  I think he has genuine feelings for her, but it’s also him pushing himself to move on from Juliette, which is something he has not been able to do.

Without Alannah, the band flounders with Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Avery, and then there is the health situation with Will (Chris Carmack).  Alannah’s presence really put a kink in Gunnar and Avery’s friendship.  She stared out with one guy, and was on her way to being with another.

JONATHAN:  Gunnar and Avery are really good friends and care about each other a lot, and it is certainly an awkward moment in their friendship.   In terms of the band, they lose Will who has been through this health crisis, and then Alannah.  The music components are kind of imploding and they are just trying to hold on to their friendship, and not have that implode along with the band.

Courtesy/CMT

Brad (Jeff Nordling) is making advances towards Alannah, and she originally tells Avery about it.  What does he think of the situation?  Now, she may do whatever Jeff wants her to do to get ahead in the music biz, since Juliette came back into Avery’s life.

JONATHAN:  I think Avery is trying to be supportive of Alannah.  It was a little bit of a blow for her to leave the band, but he generally wants to support her.  Avery has this instinct to be protective, as well.  He kind of has to hold himself back a little bit and not complain too much. He knows Alannah is an independent person, and may not want his help.  With the situation with Brad, Avery is aware of it, but she is walking into that in her own way.  It’s a moment for Avery to sort of step back and trust her that this is how she wants to go about her career.

Did you know Rainee Blake was going to be your potential love interest this season? Did you screen-test with her?

JONATHAN:  We did not screen-test together.  I think relatively earlier on I heard that this might happen, but it is one of those things were you never really know.  Often times, the writers and the producers bide their time and see how things develop as a couple, and how the audience responds to the on-screen chemistry.  You never really know if it’s going to materialize.  I actually did like how Avery and Alannah started to connect on the tour bus several episodes ago. The audience got a tease of a different side of Alannah, and Avery kind of brought that out.  Rainee was great to work with.

Courtesy/CMT

You have gotten the opportunity as Avery to tug on the heartstrings, as a dad raising his little girl, Cadence, all by himself, with a the runaway mother who never shows up.  How was the journey working with Hayden Panetierre?  You two had to battle, bicker, fight, and had to play all these ups and downs together to make the story work over many seasons of Nashville.

JONATHAN:   It was really amazing, and for me that is one of the things I will miss most about working on the show, and that is working with Hayden.  It’s such an interesting thing when you work with people for so many years, and all of the emotional ups and downs that the characters go through.  Often times, we would be doing a lot of intense and emotional scenes, but for whatever reason, we would find a way to have a lot of fun and find the humor when we are doing those.  I have a lot of love and respect for Hayden.  I think she is incredibly talented. We both started off in soap operas (Hayden was Lizzie on Guiding Light) and thus had a certain approach to our work, and our work ethic.  For me, it’s always a highlight in my career when I get to work with somebody that the scene is already great, because of the person you are working with.  We would constantly share ideas back and forth between us.  The thing about working on Nashville was the friendships we developed in the cast, especially going on tour with the cast and to experience all of that with everybody else.

Courtesy/CMT

What happened when you found out that this sixth and final season of Nashville would be its last?  Did you have any idea that this was coming down the pike when you wrapped season 5? 

JONATHAN:  No.  I don’t think anybody knew when we wrapped season 5.  We did not know till right before everybody else that this was going to be the last season.  We were in production maybe halfway through season 6.  I think that it helped having that time to adjust, and it gave us some time for reflection.  It really did help in a sense, because you know other shows they might wrap a month, or two later, and it’s over.  You don’t get to say goodbye, but we really did.  We got to say our goodbyes.

Courtesy/CMT

I can imagine that was heartbreaking.  When you think of the rollercoaster ride you and the cast had been through together which included: the cancellation by ABC, then the show coming back on CMT, only for it to be cancelled again, it’s quite a lot to deal with and not knowing if there is job security.  Do you recall your last day on the set?

JONATHAN:  I do remember it very well.  There were a lot of beautiful moments with people, and having so much love for the crew and so many amazing people that worked on the show.  We wrapped on April 10th and then we flew to the U.K. on the 12th   It was two days later that the tour started.  Even though filming was over, we were on a plane and then on a bus together, which was really good for all of us.  I know it was for me to have another ending.  In some ways, the end of the tour was even more emotional, because that really felt it was the end.

Photo Credit: CMT

Do you think there were more stories to tell on Nashville … or, do you think the series is going off the air when it should, as the stories can tend to get repetitive on any long-running series? Do you think this was the right time for Nashville to say goodbye?

JONATHAN:  I don’t know how other people’s perspectives are about it, but I know from my perspective, I think we told the story that was there to be told for these characters.  That is sort of the bittersweet reality of it.  It’s painful to say goodbye to a lot of people that I had become very close to, but at the same time, there was a sense of peace about it.  It really did feel like the right time.

What can you say tease about how Nashville concludes? The series finale airs on July 26.

JONATHAN:  One of the hardest things about being in a long form series; whether it be in the primetime format, or the daytime format, is often times the lack of resolution that takes place. You are pertually in Act 2 and in all the drama.  So, knowing that the show was over, allowed the writers to approach everything from the perspective of the end, and Act 3.  Certain storylines have resolution, and others are left open-ended.  There is a good overall balance from the writers of what the audience is going to experience with the end of the show.

Courtesy/ABC

I produced the General Hospital 55th anniversary tribute package for this year’s Daytime Emmys.  I remember looking at some of your storylines and touching performances all over again that still hold up to this day.  One in particular was Lucky pulling tough love on Luke (Tony Geary) during his father’s intervention.  Lucky is such a valuable character on the canvas.  Would you consider going back to GH? 

JONATHAN:  My perspective on that is; I don’t really put that off the table.  I really don’t have plans to do that, because after coming off six years on a series, that is a lot.  I am definitely looking for other projects that have an Act 1, 2, and 3, that happen a little sooner than Nashville did.  I always have going back to GH on the table, because it’s like a family for me.  I have always said that that even when I left in the 90’s; that GH would be something I would come back to.  But, I am very committed and excited about what is happening with Enation, and excited about some other projects that are out there on the acting front. I don’t see going back to GH in the near future, but I never write it off.

When you last returned you did come back to be part of Tony Geary’s exit.

JONATHAN: Yes, yes, which I was really happy to be a part of.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Still years later, when you think of all the stories you portrayed as Lucky, is there one, or two that stand out to you among the rest?

JONATHAN:   There are many.  There were a lot of stories, and the writers wrote so much material, and that is a double-edged sword.  It’s great to have, but it was so much that I really couldn’t continue. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: ABC

I remember saying to you years ago, “You cry so well on camera. They are going to keep expecting you to cry, and they will be throwing scripts like that to you every day!”

JONATHAN:  And that is exactly what happened!   But for me, it’s the moments with the co-stars that I will always carry with me.  There are endless ones in my memory with Tony Geary. “The intervention” was certainly one of those moments.  I had those moments as well with Tyler Christopher (Ex-Nikolas, now Stefan, DAYS), and Becky Herbst (Elizabeth).  I remember having these scenes with Maurice Benard (Sonny) when scenes on the soaps were much longer.  And of course, earlier on, with Genie Francis (Laura) as well.  I feel like as an artist, I was really formed by Tony and Genie’s presence and observing them and watching how they worked.  I asked so many questions to them as I really wanted to learn.  They really protected me in so many ways, and yet gave me the freedom to try to find my own way through a whole process as well.  Those are the things that really jump out at me, as well as working through the scenes prior to filming, especially with Tony.  He and I would go pretty deep with what we were trying to figure out; what the scenes were, and what they were about, and how to approach it.  That part of the process was really memorable to me.  The unique thing I think in this industry for me was that I started at 11-years-old and got to come back to the show in my mid-20’s, and got to have that connection with another actor, and explore this father and son relationship.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I don’t think, and I really mean this, that there has been a father/son relationship on television like Luke and Lucky’s.   It was so multi-faceted.   Have you stayed in touch with Tony?

JONATHAN:  We definitely stay in touch.  Again, when I left General Hospital, I did not know if anything like that would happen again in my career where I would form sort of long-lasting friendships with people.  Most of the time you do a film and you get to know some people, and you go your separate ways, and that’s just how it is.  So I was really grateful for Nashville, because I feel like we were able to have those long-lasting relationships. I can’t really put into words my relationship with Tony.  It’s just a lot of love and gratitude, and respect that I have for him.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagram

Meanwhile, your music career is very exciting of late.  Last month, you played the Royal Albert Hall in London with your band, Enation.  How was that experience?

JONATHAN:  It was amazing.  I went overseas with the Nashville tour and then Enation did a couple of shows, and then we opened for Echo & the Bunnymen.  The last gig on that tour was at Royal Albert Hall.  I have loved Echo & the Bunnymen for such a long time, and so this was wonderful for us.

Will Enation be touring more coming up?  

JONATHAN:  We are looking to go back to Europe later this year, or the spring of next year, and are working out those details.  We are going to be touring in the United States later on this year.

Photo: JJacksonInstagram

Did your wife Lisa (Ex-Hannah, GH) meet up with you on this recent European tour?

JONATHAN: The Nashville tour ended in Ireland, and then my wife and kids came over for the last two shows there. Then, got to go around Ireland for a couple of weeks and drive around, and it was fun.

Did you notice a difference between the European music fans of Nashville as opposed to those in the U.S.?

JONATHAN:  Yes, and no.  One of the things I have noticed playing over there is that the distinction in musical genres isn’t quite as a sharp as it is in the U.S.  Over there, the radio seems to play a lot different kinds of music.  So, it was a pretty seamless transition for a lot of the people that came to the Nashville show.   We see a slight difference in the music fan base, and it mainly has to do with that they may go to a country show one week, and a couple of weeks later go to a rock concert, and not think twice about the genre.  It’s just they are looking for good music.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagramm

Hard to believe we are turning the page on another great character played by Jonathan Jackson as Nashville heads towards its finale.  What would you like to say to the fans, the #Nashies, who have loved, and have stuck with show every step of the way?

JONATHAN:  Just a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for all the support, especially when the show was cancelled.  CMT saw the enthusiasm and support from the fans here and internationally, and that was a huge part for us to be able to get the last few seasons.  It has really meant a lot to us creatively to write that 3rd act, sort of speak, and have that sense of closure. I also would just say to the fans that have come out to the Nashville concerts as well, that it has meant so much.  We feel like we have had some beautiful moments with everybody, and so I am very grateful for that.

So, what do you think will happen to Avery at the end of Nashville?  Do you want him to end up with Juliette, Alannah, or by himself? Should GH try to lure Jonathan back to the his role as Lucky Spencer? Comment below!

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Nashville

NASHVILLE Midseason Premiere: You Gotta Have Heart

On Thursday night’s Nashville midseason premiere: heartache, heartbreak, and heart damage were the order of the day.  Through the hour episode, the Nashville men took front and center stage through their emotional songs and their dramatic turns.  

Courtesy/CMT

We pick up right after Will (Chris Carmack) is rushed to the hospital after collapsing during The Chew performance in New York.  Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Alannah (Rainee Blake) learn from the doctor that their friend and bandmate is suffering from none other than a heart infection. The physician says, “Are any of you aware that he was using needles, injecting steroids?” Avery (Jonathan Jackson), and Alannah are stunned while Gunnar reveals that he knew about Will injecting himself once.  When Avery and Gunnar go visit Will in his hospital room, Gunnar is mad because he thinks it is “stupid” that Will did this to himself.

Will, as usual, sloughs it off and apologizes. But things don’t look good for Will. The doctor tells the country star to take it easy, and that he might need surgery, because there is something going on in his mitral valve in his heart. Will receives bad news; that he can’t play concerts or perform anytime soon.

When the news spreads through Nashville that Will has survived this heart scare, none other than Zach (Cameron Scoggins), Will’s ex, surprises him when Will is at home resting.  Zach gets a clue that Will’s steroid use may have something to do with the good-looking trainer, Mark, who he flaunted in front of his face when the two of them broke up.  As the two of them kind of flirt with each other, Zach mentions that Mark and him broke up, leaving a possible window of hope that Zach and Will might get back together again.  

Scarlett (Clare Bowen), who sees that Will is feeling sorry for himself, gives him a notebook and a pen and tells him to try to write a song about his feelings, even though Will protests that he is a showman, not a songwriter. But of course, in true Nashville fashion, Will comes up with an emotional song by the end of the episode, sung and played to perfection by Carmack.

As for Avery, is there anything cuter than Avery with his young daughter Cadence, while MIA mother Juliette (Hayden Panetierre) has once again put him in a position where he’s raising this child all by himself?  Meanwhile Alannah, who has slept with Gunnar, is very attracted to Avery. 

One night, after it appears that she hit the sack with Gunnar, she goes over to Avery’s to hang out for some drinking … dancing … and talking.  It is apparent that Avery enjoys her company, and she is clearly into him. Nothing happens between them.  They both fall asleep separately in the living room, and the next morning Avery thanks her for her support. 

However, a tabloid photo surfaces on Gunnar’s phone that says there’s a woman sneaking out of Avery’s house. When he sees that it is none other than Alannah, Gunnar is livid! He heads over to a rehearsal begging for a fight. They don’t have a fight, but instead, Gunnar gets hit in the nose by the band member’s guitar. The way it looks to us, maybe, just maybe, Gunnar and Will, who have been good friends, even though Gunnar hasn’t slept with a guy that maybe, just maybe, they could end up together?  After all, Gunnar and Will did kiss that one time.  Is this just wishful thinking, or could Nashville go down this road before its series finale?

As for Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten), who has been the epicenter of the show, since Connie Britton has departed, he has gotten himself caught in the middle and involved with Jessie (Kaitlin Doubleday) and her ex, Brad (Jeff Nordling). Brad is suing Jessie for full custody of their son. Deacon’s past of alcohol abuse and and fights don’t look good for them, and it’s tearing this possible new love affair apart.  Later, Jessie and Deacon profess they don’t want to lose each other.

Courtesy/CMT

However, the most poignant moment of the show happened when Maddie (Lennon Stella), who knocked back some booze during Jonah’s birthday week, showed up back at Deacon and Rayna’s home.  She’s defiant, and she wants to move out.  Deacon notices that she’s drinking water, looking dehydrated like she’s hungover from alcohol. 

He confronts her and says, “What the heck were you thinking?” She screams that she’s an adult, and she’s 18.  He says, “Not in this house you’re not!” She fires back, “Maybe I should move out!” As they’re both crying, and they begin to calm down. Deacon is fearful that he could pass the addiction gene of alcohol onto his daughter.  He reflects on how he lost so many years with Rayna, and so many years with his daughter, and that he doesn’t want Maddie to make the same mistakes as he did.

At the end of the episode, seeing how her sister, Daphne (Maisy Stella) is broken up over the fact that she doesn’t want Maddie to move out, she ends up in bed hanging out with her dad and her sister, and they hug it out now she’s going to stay, and not leave the nest.

So, what did you think about midseason premiere of Nashville?  Did it have a lot of heart? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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This week on Y&R, Nick reveals himself to Victor as the one who has been masquerading at J.T.! Meanwhile, Lily and Hilary are involved in a terrible car crash, and Mariah and Tessa reconnect. What did you think of Nick’s revenge plot on Victor? Watch the latest promo from CBS below, then let us know. Leave A Comment

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