'Nashville': 5 facts about new ABC series starring Hayden Panettiere, Connie Britton
Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton play two very different country singers who battle for time in the spotlight in the new ABC drama series "Nashville" and the former actress, who once dabbled in music in real life, is well aware of how her character appears in the promos that have been running recently.
The show debuted on ABC on Wednesday, October 10 at 10 p.m. ET. Check out 5 facts about the two actresses and "Nashville."
1. You can say it - Hayden Panettiere's character, rising star Juliette Barnes, seems like a giant B.
However, the attitude is the result of a hard childhood.
"That's what drew me to her," Panettiere, 23, told OTRC.com special correspondent George Pennacchio of KABC Television.
"That's what makes her so interesting and so relatable, is the troubles that she's gone through and the skeletons in her closet and the heartbroken little girl that is underneath all that façade and ugh, bitchiness," she added, laughing. She doesn't express herself in the best of ways but I think when people realize that about her and see where she comes from and see the past she's running from, that people relate and understand."
2. The two actresses sing for real, and a LOT.
Britton, 45, rose to fame with roles on shows such as "Ellen," "24," "Spin City" and the drama series "Friday Night Lights." Last year, she played Vivien Harmon on the FX ongoing miniseries "American Horror Story." In "Nashville," she plays aging country star Rayna Jaymes and had to take singing lessons for the part.
"It's a lot of work," Britton said. "It's definitely a lot of work and I just think I wanted to do something where I felt really challenged and something that felt different from what I'd been doing before and it just was a great opportunity to stretch some different muscles."
Britton told OTRC.com and other outlets at ABC's Television Critics Association panel in Beverly Hills, California on July 27 that has been singing her whole life, although not professionally." She also told reporters that Panettiere is a "legitimately great singer."
3. Panettiere had an actual music career.
The actress released a pop single, "Wake Up Call," in 2008, when she was still playing her breakout role of cheerleader Claire Bennet on the NBC sci-fi series "Heroes." The song flopped. She later contributed tracks to Disney pop albums and soundtracks of movies such as "Cinderella III: A Twist in Time," "The Ice Princess" and the animated 2011 film "Hoodwinked Too! (Hood vs. Evil)."
I always said that if I was going to do music again that I was going to do country music and this was before ['Nashville'] was even written or even a pipe dream," Pannettiere told OTRC.com. "It's incredible. I love being able to do it. It is definitely getting to a level that I've not experienced before. I've tried my hand in it but the whole stage presence of it and the audience aspect of it. It's different. It is new."
4. The "Nashville" singers are not based on a specific real-life country singer.
"I do think that all of our characters are their own character," Britton told OTRC.com. "I don't think anyone on our show has based their character on some real country performer."
"The experience that I've had is I've watched a lot of them, because I really wanted to study them - various different performers but for different aspects of who they are and then I started just creating this amalgam of a character and that's what's fun," she added. "I think it would be limiting to us if we were just trying to play somebody who is out there in the world."
Pannettiere said at the TCA event that she has heard people comparing her "Nashville" character to Taylor Swift. Both are in their early 20s and blonde. Swift, she said, was "much nicer" than Barnes.
5. The first episode is packed with tons of information - so pay attention!
The hunger of two singers for fame is not the only thing that goes on in the pilot. Subplots deal with sex, drugs, not to mention betrayal, family squabbles and forbidden love.
"That's a testament to Callie Khouri," Britton said about the show's executive producer. "She wrote a tight script and she will continue to and that's very exciting."
Reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television, which produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).