why is connie britton leaving nashville – most heartbreaking
Rayna is dead. This is not a fake-out TV death. Connie Britton is officially departing “Nashville.” Sources close to Britton’s camp tell Variety that the actress knew she would leave the show, soon after CMT picked up the series when it was canceled by ABC after four seasons.
Connie Britton’s Nashville song is over.
During Thursday’s hour, leading lady Britton’s country music superstar Rayna James, surrounded by family and friends, died after complications from injuries suffered in a car crash.
Was it your decision to leave Nashville?
It was my decision. It was something that, for various reasons, had been percolating for me. What was really important to me was that it felt like the right time. This summer, when the show went to CMT, it felt solid and stable. When Marshall came in, we had a conversation and he came up with the way this story would lay out. We both agreed — and I said to him that what was most important to me was that we really do justice and honor the character and all of these characters and the world that we’ve been living in for these last five years.
What prompted your desire to leave? Did that arise before or after ABC’s cancellation?
There were a lot of different factors that played into it; it was a cumulative thing. I don’t need to go into great detail about what that was but for me, it felt like the timing was important and my No. 1 priority was the show and making sure that it was done in the right way.
“It’s devastating,” says Connie Britton and we have to agree: CMT’s Nashville just delivered one of the saddest, most heartbreaking and — yes — devastating death scenes in TV history. Rayna Jaymes — having already suffered through being held at knifepoint by a crazed stalker, a car crash and emergency surgery — unexpectedly slipped away at the end of Thursday’s episode, “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” With Deacon, Daphne (Maisy Jude Marion Stella) and Maddie (Lennon Ray Louise Stella) at her bedside, Rayna perishes — prompting screams and tears from her family. But while Rayna’s death was a total shock to the other Nashville characters, the exit has been in the works for many months. Below Britton explains why she’s leaving Nashville and her thoughts on that tragic hour:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: After CMT picked up the series, why did you decide to move on from Nashville?
Connie Britton: There were many reasons. Obviously there was a lot of back and forth over the summer if the show was picked up or wasn’t picked up, and after talking to the new showrunner Marshall Herskovitz and seeing the show was in such a good place — it was picked up by CMT, which was so a good home for it, they were over the moon and really supportive, and really passionate about the show. I think it will be a good home in terms of being able to appreciate the music on the show, and there are new showrunners who were bringing in a different perspective and breath of fresh air. And seeing the passion of the fans for these characters — the show wouldn’t be on the air if not for our beloved fans … it really felt like we would be in a good place and this would be the time to start talking about Rayna’s departure. Marshall came up with this story and it felt right. I told him, “I want to do justice to this character, this character she’s so special to me.” I’m kind of choked up even talking to you. Rayna means so much to me and so does the audience of Nashville and to me that was priority number one. Whatever we did had to honor the character and honor the show and feel like we were doing it right.