Nashville is (almost) back! The TV drama, which aired for four seasons on ABC, until the network canceled the show in May, returns on Jan. 5 (this time on CMT) -- and the cast knows exactly who they have to thank for that. Avid fans, dubbed "Nashies," started petitions, tweeted using hashtags and used their love of the show to let potential new network homes know that they wanted to see Connie Britton, Charles Esten, Chris CarmackSam Palladio and the rest of the Nashville cast on TV again.

"It’s awe-inspiring, really," Palladio, who plays Gunnar Scott, tells The Boot. "It’s a fantastic feeling to know that the music of the show and the stories that we’re telling are resonating globally, and it’s great to be able to showcase this city on a global scale, because I think it’s such a special place."

Notes Clare Bowen, who plays Scarlett O'Connor, "We’ve heard people say a thousand times that country music fans are the best fans in the world. They’re incredibly loyal; they know what they like, and they love what they love, and they’re very connected to you. I feel the same way. I love them so much ..."

Bowen recalls preparing herself for Nashies' outrage following the news of Nashville's cancellation -- she knew it was coming, and she knew it wouldn't take long.

"I saw [the news of the cancellation] roll up on Twitter, and I was like, ‘Well, this is going to be funny.' And about three seconds later, the Nashies just exploded," Bowen remembers. "They couldn’t quiet them down, because we -- and this is the greatest gift you get to give an audience as a storyteller -- we get to tell stories that make people feel something, and might give them a way to express themselves that they haven’t had the words for previously.

"I have such gratitude for the Nashies to really scream out like that and call for us back," Bowen continues, "and CMT has been wonderful in saying that it’s a huge part of why they were able to pick us up, because we have this following."

While the Nashville cast couldn't reveal too many details of the new season, they did promise that there will be more drama, more romance and, best of all, more music.

"CMT, I think, is the perfect home for us, because they’re local, and they get it," Bowen remarks. "They’re all about music. And it’s a beautiful platform for the show. It’s a show about music."

For Carmack, who plays Will Lexington, it's the music that helps tell the stories that might otherwise be too difficult to express.

"Music is a very sort of potent emotional tool: It really tugs at the heartstrings in a way thtat other storytelling can't," he explains. "Music is incorporated in all television -- I mean, it is a big storytelling element. The only difference is, here, the characters are actually performing the songs ... [and] in many ways, these songs are about the conception of the song, about the creation of the song, and about what part of someone’s life went into these lyrics. So it’s an even stronger storytelling element.

"You see these characters write these songs, you see them sing these songs, and, of course, it’s all beautifully filmed and wonderfully scripted," Carmack adds. "It draws our audience in, I think on a level that I haven’t seen done on other television shows."

The new season of Nashville promises more authentic storylines, a deeper look into the music business and a few new characters. Season 5 will premiere in its entirety on Thursday (Jan. 5) at 9PM ET on CMT.

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