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ABC’s ‘Nashville’ Makes the Music Business Look ‘Way Nicer’ Than It Is?

Nashville Cast
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

ABC’s hit series ‘Nashville‘ often pulls the lid back on the kind of industry machinations that go into marketing music for profit. But despite the show’s depiction of the brutal realities of the music business, some industry insiders apparently believe the real-life business is even harsher.

Recent episodes have focused on the tension between the show’s main character, Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton), and the new head of her longtime label, who is trying to force her to deliver her new album early to capitalize on publicity from a car accident she was involved in. Another storyline has delved into the interpersonal jealousies between superstar Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) and a hungry young rising star who leaked information about her to the tabloids to deliberately damage her career.

Far from alienating insiders in Music City — where the show is actually filmed — ‘Nashville’ creator and Executive Producer Callie Khouri tells the Tennessean newspaper that her friends and colleagues in Nashville’s music business tell her the show makes the industry look better than it is.

“They say, ‘If you showed how it really was …,’” she says. “I’m like, ‘Really, go on. Anything you want to tell me?’ They feel like we are way nicer on our show than [the music business] actually is. I guess that’s both good and bad. I don’t know.”

Khouri admits that some of the show’s plots are juiced up to appeal to a specific demographic. “We’re a 10 [PM ET] network show, so there’s a certain amount of shenanigans that have to take place to justify our time slot,” she acknowledges. “But we still try to make the music the focus, and the lives of the people making the music the focus, and to tell those stories as authentically as we can.”

‘Nashville’ will return with new episodes on Jan. 15.

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