At a Tennessee Screenwriting Association seminar on Saturday (June 25), Nashville creator and Oscar winner Callie Khouri spoke candidly about her journey in entertainment and the future of the music business drama.
But when an audience member asked the million-dollar question whether Juliette Barnes died in the plane crash that aired in the season four finale, Khouri wasn’t going to show her cards.
“Yes, she does,” she joked sarcastically. “I’m not going to tell you! I’m not telling you anything. You’ll have to wait and see.”
Khouri did express that she was very excited about season five airing on its new network home CMT because the show’s new writing staff shares her same vision.
“They are very interested in telling the same kinds of stories that I am, which is more emotional but less soapy,” she said. “You still have to have things that hook you emotionally. People have to feel involved.”
“It’s certainly a good fit for CMT, as they try and get into a scripted universe. Our show is a quality show just in terms of production. We spend a lot of money making it look great. I think it’s a really good fit.”
The end goal is to give fans of the show – Nashies, they call themselves – a more authentic look at what it’s really like to “make it” in music.
“One thing I would like to deal with is the collapse of the music business and just how hard it is,” she said. “This stuff is really hard. You can’t just put out a record and suddenly it’s No. 1 and all of a sudden they’re big stars. That’s not how it happens. So, I think we are going to deal more with the struggle of it. I think that’s a truer representation of what’s really going on. And I think the public should be aware of the fact that what’s common practice out in the universe paying for Spotify or Pandora is bankrupting the music industry.”
And if followers believe that character plotlines are based on actual Music Row news, rumors and events, think again.
“I love it when somebody tells me something juicy about something that’s really happened,” she said. “But the writers are all in L.A. They’re not in touch with what really goes on. But anybody who wants to tell me something, please don’t hold back.”
The fifth season, produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios and Opry Entertainment, will begin production in the near future. Longtime SVOD partner Hulu will continue to stream all episodes the day after they air on CMT.
Since its debut, the show has inspired 10 soundtracks, including a Christmas album, which have collectively sold more than one million album units and more than five million single-track downloads to date. It has also been nominated for multiple Emmy, Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards.