They’ve taken their final bow. Nashville series regulars Will Chase and Aubrey Peeples won’t be returning to the show for season 5, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. The news comes nearly two weeks after it was announced that CMT would be picking up the drama after ABC’s initial cancelation.
Chase, 45, joined the cast in 2013 during its second season. He played country superstar Luke Wheeler, who was briefly engaged to Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) before she called off the wedding and later married Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten). Luke had recently re-signed gay country singer Will Lexington (Chris Carmack) to his label and was helping him gain wider acceptance in the Nashville music community.
Peeples, 22, meanwhile, was promoted to series regular last year. In the season 4 finale, her manipulative character, Layla Grant, was left heartbroken after her boyfriend, Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson), found out that she had leaked stories to the tabloids.
The Jem and the Holograms star may be leaving, but she could potentially have a career in journalism to fall back on. She previously revealed that she deferred her admission to Harvard University after graduating high school to do the show.
“I was about to go. Basically the week before I booked Nashville, I was packing up my apartment in L.A. and then I found out I got the part. So, I put it off again. I would love to eventually go [to Harvard]. It’s a big goal of mine. I don’t know exactly when it’s gonna happen, depending on my work schedule, but it’s something I definitely want to do,” she told Refinery29 in April 2015. “I’ve always loved to write.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chase and Peeples are most likely the only actors who will be saying goodbye. Discussions with lead stars Britton and Hayden Panettiere (Juliette Barnes) appear to be going well.
Nashville debuted in 2012 and also stars Clare Bowen (Scarlett O’Connor) and Sam Palladio (Gunnar Scott), among others. The series is expected to return on CMT this fall.
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