Connie Britton Nashville ABC

“Nashville” may have gotten an exciting premiere date for January 5, 2017, but it also got a bit of bad news regarding its leading lady, Connie Britton.

Britton’s character, Rayna James, has always been the main focus of the show, even though other characters like Juliette (Hayden Panettiere), Scarlett (Claire Bowen) and Gunnar (Sam Palladio) have stolen their fair share of attention over the years. Now, though, Britton has announced that she will be reducing her role in Season 5, making her a recurring character instead of series regular.

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Entertainment Weekly reports that Britton has only signed on for 10 of the 22 episodes CMT ordered for “Nashville” Season 5, meaning we’ll probably be seeing a whole lot less of Rayna James than we’re used to.

So far, it’s still up in the air if those 10 episodes are all we’ll get, or if Britton is still negotiating appearances in the final 12 episodes.

If so, we figure there are three different options for how frequently (or infrequently) she’ll appear.

The Bradley Cooper option

giphy8 How recurring will Connie Britton be in Nashville Season 5?

Bradley Cooper signed on as a recurring character in “Limitless,” and while we certainly saw more of him than we ever expected to, that was still only a handful of times throughout the season. If Britton decides to max out at 10 episodes, Rayna could be “on tour” for long arcs during Season 5, only popping in here and there.

The Claire Holt option


Claire Holt seemed like an entirely integral ingredient in “The Originals,” but thanks to a 16-episode contract negotiation, her character Rebekah abruptly exited the series halfway through its first season. If “Nashville” decides to blow all 10 episodes at once, we might need to start worrying that Rayna will somehow check out of the show for good.

The Edward Herrmann option

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While Edward Herrmann technically took on the title of “special guest star,” he was still a huge presence during the original run of “Gilmore Girls.”  Assuming negotiations for the other 12 episodes of “Nashville’s” fifth season offer Britton a reduced role, we might get something similar to a Richard Gilmore situation. Around, but not omnipresent.