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Nashville Season 3 will Premiere on September 24th

ABC has announced that the third season of Nashville will premiere on September 24th 2014 at 10PM ET.

Moreover, show creator Callie Khouri revealed to Radio Times that the season 3 debut episode will feature live performances. The musical performances will broadcast, directly from the show’s set. The premiere episode will also have pre-recorded scenes, which will be shot on July 17th.

This morning the writers and the cast including Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere, Charles Esten and Clare Bowen, are already preparing for the new season with a table read session.

Season 3 Confirmed

Rayna Jaymes, Juliette Barnes and the rest of the “Nashville” gang haven’t played their last song.

The ABC television network announced late Friday that “Nashville” has been renewed for third season — with a full run of 22 episodes — ending months of speculation about the future of the locally produced prime-time drama. As “Nashville” has been considered “on the bubble” between renewal and cancellation throughout its second season, Friday’s news came as a relief to the show’s devoted fans, as well as its cast and crew.

“It’s another Nashville victory,” said actor Ed Amatrudo, who plays artist manager Glenn Goodman on “Nashville” and has called the real Music City home for the last 10 years. “The city of Nashville is on fire right now. It would be the worst possible time ever to not have a show like this.”

But it remains to be seen whether Nashville the city will continue to have “Nashville” the TV show in season 3.

Last month, sources revealed to The Tennessean that executives had explored the option of moving the production to other states, scouting locations in Texas and Georgia. In its first two seasons, “Nashville” has been shot exclusively in and around Music City, both on location and on an East Nashville soundstage.

But executive producer Steve Buchanan, who’s also the president of Opry Entertainment Group, the parent company of the “Grand Ole Opry” and Ryman Auditorium, said everyone who is involved wants to see “Nashville” stay at home.

“Our No. 1 goal was the pickup for season 3, and an equivalent goal for all parties is that the show is shot here in Nashville, where it should be,” he said. “The studios and the network want to see that happen; the state and the city, who have been incredibly supportive, want to see that happen; and obviously, from the Ryman Hospitality (formerly Gaylord Entertainment, “Opry” owners) perspective, we share that, and we will do whatever it takes in partnering with the city and the state to try and ensure that that happens.”

Ratings decrease

The Nielsen Co. reported that “Nashville” has averaged 4.5 million viewers in season 2, which is a 9 percent decrease from its first season.

But as a musical brand, it has continued to grow. The show released its fourth soundtrack album on Big Machine Records earlier this month, with more than 600,000 total albums sold to date. The top-selling digital track — one of dozens offered on iTunes — has been downloaded more than 190,000 times. It was a cover of The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey.”

Last month, ABC aired a concert special filmed at the Ryman Auditorium, and the cast followed that up with a sold-out four-date tour, packing theaters and clubs in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The future of “Nashville” as a local product partly depends on economic incentives from state and local government. For season 2, the state contributed $12.5 million, Metro gave $500,000 and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. added $125,000.

But a newly trimmed annual state budget leaves just roughly $3 million in the Tennessee film incentives fund, which would require more funding from Metro and the CVC to get closer to the $13.1 million provided for season 2.

In an official statement Saturday, CVC President Butch Spyridon said there had been “no official word on location. We can only hope and remain optimistic.”

Last year, it was mid-June before “Nashville” announced that the production would remain in Music City — nearly six weeks after ABC picked it up for a second season.

“Nashville” airs its second season finale at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Is Nashville Really in Danger of Being Canceled?

Is Nashville about to sing its last note?!

While Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere’s soap has a dedicated fanbase and some seriously juicy storylines, ABC has yet to renew the drama for a third season. However, star Eric Close, who plays Mayor Teddy Conrad, isn’t too worried about the show’s future.

“I haven’t heard yet, but we’re supposed to know May 15. But I got to tell you, I’d be really shocked if it doesn’t go another year,” Close told us while promoting his and his wife Keri’s fundraiser that is taking place at their home on Saturday (May 3) for The Africa Foundation.

So why is Close so confident? The show’s word-of-mouth, as even some of his closest friends have come to him for fan-related favors!

“I had breakfast with a friend of mine and his friend lives in Austin and he said, ‘Would you do me a favor and just say hello to her? She’s a big fan,'” he explained. “So I called her up in Austin and she got on the phone and she said, ‘My husband and I have gone to Nashville numerous times now because of your show and we’ve introduced all of our friends to the  show.'”

He continued, “What I’ve noticed over the last year is that a lot of fans are really interested in introducing the show to their friends…I think we have a great following that’s growing and the shows are interesting.”

Speaking of interesting, that’s what things are about to become on the sudser heading into the final two episodes of the season.

While last year’s finale was action-packed, with Rayna and Deacon getting into a serious car accident, Close said fans can expect “a very emotional” affair.

“We’re doing more of an emotional cliffhanger where you’re seeing people just emotionally on edge and having to make some tough decisions,” he dished. “A lot of blame being thrown around.” And of course, fans can expect to see a lot of that blame directed at Teddy, as Close said with a laugh, “Always!”

And before the finale, Nashville fans can expect to see First Lady Michelle Obama make a guest appearance in the penultimate episode, airing on May 7. Of the buzzed-about cameo, Close previewed, “They recorded her at the White House, but she spoke on the big screen at the concert we’re filming, where she talks to the troops and thanks Rayna [Connie Britton] and everybody for including her. It’s really cool.”

Nashville airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.