New girls in town! Rachel Bilson and Kaitlin Doubleday are set to join Nashville, CMT announced on Thursday, March 9.
“We welcome Rachel and Kaitlin into our incredibly talented ensemble,” Marshall Herskovitz, executive producer and showrunner, said in a statement. “We fondly anticipate the second half of the season filled with surprising twists and turns that make Nashville so beloved by the fans.”
Bilson, 35, is best known for playing Summer Roberts on The O.C. from 2003 to 2007 and starring in the CW’s Hart of Dixie from 2011 to 2015. Doubleday, 32, recently played Rhonda Lyon in Fox’s hit Empire.
CMT has yet to reveal details on what the new characters will be, but the actress’ did drop some hints. Bilson posted an Instagram photo of the music label Highway 65. “Music city, here I come,” she wrote. Doubleday, meanwhile, shared a photo of the Bluebird Cafe. “This will definitely be a change of pace!” she quipped.
The news comes after Connie Britton’s exit and the death of her character, country superstar Rayna Jaymes, in the February 23 episode, “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” Late last month, Herskovitz teased the new roles to Deadline.
“We made casting additions in the fall, and it was always our intention even before we decided that Rayna would die that we would make additions to the cast in the second part of the season, don’t think any of them is related to her death,” he said at the time.
Britton, 50, opened up about her shocking departure in an interview with TVLine. “I didn’t second-guess my decision,” the Friday Night Lights alum said. “Honestly, I’m going to take a little rest, if such a thing is possible,” she said of her future plans. “I’ve been doing network TV for 10 years straight without a break. And I adopted my son five years into it. … But I also love to work. There are a couple of film things coming up that I’m excited about. In terms of TV, I’m very open to whatever comes around. But moving forward, I like the idea of maybe starting something from the beginning and being really at the ground level in terms of development and creation. To me, that would be very exciting.”