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‘Nashville’ Casts Rachel Bilson and Kaitlin Doubleday

Variety logo Variety 3/10/2017 Elizabeth Wagmeister
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Following Connie Britton’s departure from “Nashville,” the fan-favorite series is bringing in two new actresses: Rachel Bilson and Kaitlin DoubledayVariety has learned.

Bilson and Doubleday will both make their debuts in the back-half of Season 5, which does not have a premiere date yet. The first half of the season wrapped up tonight on CMT.

“We welcome Rachel and Kaitlin into our incredibly talented ensemble,” said executive producer and showrunner, Marshall Herskovitz. “We fondly anticipate the second half of the season filled with surprising twists and turns that make ‘Nashville’ so beloved by the fans.”

Both roles are undisclosed at this time. However, both actresses announced their casting tonight on Instagram and used clues that could signify something about their characters — Bilson posted a photo of the record label Highway 65, perhaps suggesting she’ll play some sort of music executive or artist, and Doubleday posted an image of the Bluebird Café.

A source tells Variety that Bilson has joined in a recurring role and will play a character named Alyssa.

The addition of two new characters on “Nashville” comes after Britton’s character, Rayna Jaymes, was killed off the show. The day after her death episode aired, Herskovitz spoke to Variety, promising, “It will be very difficult, but life will go on.” Bringing new roles on the show is certainly a sign of moving storylines forward.

Bilson is best known for starring on “The O.C,” which catapulted her into becoming a pop culture phenomenon. She then starred on her own CW show, “Hart of Dixie,” which ran for four seasons. Her film credits include “Jumper” and “New York, I Love You.” She is repped by CAA and Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman.

Doubleday has starred on Fox’s hit “Empire” since its debut, but her character was killed off in the Season 2 finale and she then appeared as a ghost in several episodes of Season 3. Her film credits include “Catch Me If You Can” and “Waiting.” She is repped by Paradigm Talent Agency and MPG Management.

“Nashville” stars Hayden Panettiere, Clare Bowen, Chris Carmack, Charles Esten, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio, Maisy Stella and Lennon Stell. This season’s recurring stars are Joseph David-Jones, Rhiannon Giddens and Cameron Scoggins. The series is executive produced by co-showrunners Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, plus Steve Buchanan and creator Callie Khouri. “Nashville” hails from Lionsgate, ABC Studios and Opry Entertainment.

Watch the new trailer for the back-half of “Nashville” Season 5:

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