‘Nashville’ returns with transgender actress, new plot lines

The new season of “Nashville” starts with traditional songs rooted in gospel and folk music rather than big production country songs.


Cancelled by ABC after four seasons, the new season of “Nashville” on CMT , which begins Jan. 5, aims to reflect more diversity in both the music and the cast. The new season also will be available on Hulu in the U.S.

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The casting of a recurring transgender role on a show set and shot in the South is extremely timely. Last year, Tennessee lawmakers considered a so-called “bathroom bill” that would require public school students to use the restrooms corresponding to their gender at birth. Viacom, the parent company of CMT, condemned the bill in Tennessee, which ultimately failed to pass.

However, when Richards goes to visit her family in North Carolina, it’s a different story. Lawmakers there failed to repeal a law that limits protections for LGBTQ people and includes a provision about which bathrooms transgender people can use. Lionsgate, which produces “Nashville,” pulled production out of North Carolina on another series because of the law.