When Season 5 of Nashville premieres on CMT, a familiar face will be missing: Will Chase (aka, Luke Wheeler). The actor has officially confirmed his rumored exit from the drama.

Entertainment Weekly broke the news on Tuesday (Aug. 16), reporting that Chase has joined the cast of Time After Time -- a new drama on ABC, Nashville's former network -- as Griffin, "boyfriend to billionaire Vanessa Anders [and] one half of Manhattan’s most talked about power couple." Chase re-tweeted the story from Time After Time's official Twitter handle.

Rumors of Chase's departure from Nashville began back in June, at which time Aubrey Peeples (aka Layla Grant) was also reported as unlikely to return to the show. As Wheeler, Chase first appeared on Nashville in Season 2 and was promoted to a series regular in Season 3; his character was a love interest for Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton).

Following ABC’s cancellation of Nashville in mid-May, and thanks in part to fan demand, CMT picked up the show for a fifth season in early June. Nashville will be broadcast and streamed on CMT, and also streamed on Hulu, which currently carries the show’s previous seasons. Prior to ABC’s decision to cancel the show, Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz had been hired as Season 5’s showrunners. The show’s production company, Lionsgate, has long-term deals with Nashville‘s castmembers, so despite Chase and Peeples' departures, Charles EstenSam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson, Clare BowenLennon Stella, Maisy Stella, Chris CarmackHayden Panettiere and Britton will all be back.

An official premiere date for Season 5 of Nashville has not yet been announced, but on Friday (Aug. 12), during an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, Esten revealed that it will debut sometime in December. A CMT spokesperson tells TV Line that a premiere date has not yet been set.

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