Nashville has been picked up for a second season, and is the only freshman ABC drama to do so. Even though that’s a big win for the series, execs are making a few changes for the next season. Like firing everyone.
According to Deadline, line producer Loucas George and production supervisor Don Bensko, as well as their Nashville-based teams, didn’t get their contracts renewed for a second season. Adding insult to injury, the studio didn’t even notify them.
Bensko’s wife Micaela then penned a stern letter to the entertainment industry as a whole to protest the decision and its execution, arguing that the team was fired because of behind-the scenes friction between Los Angeles-based executives and the Nashville-based creative team.
“You know you’ve made it in Hollywood, when a studio replaces your team, and doesn’t even bother to call …
Nashville was a town unrigged for the immediacy of needs by a television series. Lionsgate had never done a network series. It had a star who worried, and a creator who cared so much it broke his heart, a community that was filled with pride, a small cafe with bluebirds that became famous overnight, and in the midst of it all, a life on the crew was almost lost; It happened during a string of endless and exhausting shoot days. This is not new to production, but a string of delayed scripts and tripping storylines kept everyone on edge. Then one of our crew lost his footing while rigging for a huge arena shoot at The Bridgestone Arena. He fell twenty feet and could have died. So he could make a living …
The studios will argue they must shoot long hours because of their budget, the deadlines, the people that call them at midnight. The reality is, nothing is important when the humanity in the process is lost. When the writers’ hands are tied. And when the very people who broke their backs to create something special were never even told they were being replaced. Like my husband and Loucas George. Not a phone call or a thank you for all they had done. I am so tired of seeing the emotional toll the industry takes on so many in production and on the crew who work so hard all for a paycheck and a wrap party they are too exhausted to attend.”
She did note that creator Callie Khouri reached out to them after hearing of their treatment, and told Bensko that he made a difference and mattered to the show.
The Deadline report also alleges that there are tensions between ABC Studios and Lionsgate, as well as a rumor that series star Connie Britton wasn’t too pleased with her experience on the first season.
Production will remain in Nashville, for now. It all depends on tax incentives and such.
But if you’re a fan of Nashville, don’t you worry. The backstage drama of the show probably won’t be very visible in Season 2, as most of the creative and writing team are still intact.
The show debuted to modest ratings.
Are you a fan of Nashville?