In addition to changing networks, the television drama "Nashville" is seeing a cast shakeup before it returns for Season 5. Jen Richards will join the show, which will see its CMT debut in January 2017.
The transgender actress will portray Allyson Del Lago in a recurring role. She will play the part of “a tough but understanding physical therapist who helps a series regular through one of their most difficult challenges,” a press release from the network reveals.
It’s not clear which series regular will be seeing the physical therapist, though fans will speculate that it will be Juliette Barnes, whose plane disappeared in a cliffhanger that closed Season 4.
Jen Richards is an Emmy-nominated writer, actress and producer. Her casting marks CMT’s first transgender character and the first out transgender actor on the network.
After originally being canceled by ABC at the conclusion of last season, "Nashville" was brought back to life by CMT after fans voiced their want for the show to go on. Charles Esten, who plays Deacon Claybourne, couldn’t be more ecstatic.
“For me, the biggest feeling, honestly … that keeps running through me … is that feeling of gratitude,” Esten says. “I’ve been an actor for a long time. And I had, maybe at my age, given up thinking I would get a role like this or a show like this. In fact, I didn’t even know such a thing existed — it didn’t really until 'Nashville.' I think there was a certain magic in it.”
"Nashville" is slated to premiere with a two-hour episode on Thursday, Jan. 5.