Rachel Bilson and Kaitlin Doubleday join 'Nashville'


Nashville is adding a few new faces in the wake of star Connie Britton's recent exit.

Rachel Bilson and Kaitlin Doubleday have signed on for roles in the country music drama, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

No character descriptions were provided for the characters, but both actresses dropped hints about their characters when announcing their roles on social media Thursday following the CMT series' midseason finale. (Bilson's Instagram photo showed a photo of Highway 65, the label formed by Britton's character, while Doubleday's was an image of the iconic Bluebird Cafe.) It's also unknown how big their roles will be when the drama returns later this year.

"We welcome Rachel and Kaitlin into our incredibly talented ensemble," series co-showrunner Marshall Herskovitz said. "We fondly anticipate the second half of the season filled with surprising twists and turns that make Nashville so beloved by the fans."

The news comes two weeks after Britton was killed off the series when her character, Rayna James, succumbed to injuries from a car accident. A star and producer on the series since its 2012 premiere, Britton's future had been in question since August 2016, when it was revealed she was eyeing a reduced workload for season five. She ultimately appeared in just 10 episodes of what will be a 22-episode season.

Read more: 'Nashville' Shocker Explained: Connie Britton Opens Up About Devastating Ending

For Bilson, the role brings her back to TV following a four-season stint on The CW's Hart of Dixie. Nashville also reunites the actress with her former O.C. co-star Chris Carmack, who has played country singer Will Lexington since season one. Bilson, whose other credits include How I Met Your Mother and Chuck, is repped by CAA and Morris Yorn.

Doubleday's Nashville stint follows her breakthrough role in Empire. A series regular for seasons one and two, Doubleday's character was killed off in the season three premiere, however she continued to appear in a recurring capacity in subsequent episodes. Doubleday's other credits include Accepted and Catch Me If You Can. She is repped by Paradigm and MPG Management.

The exit of Britton, and additions of Bilson and Doubleday, are just the latest cast changes on the Lionsgate and ABC Studios co-production under new season five showrunners Herskovitz and Ed Zwick. Series regulars Will Chase and Aubrey Peeples left the series, and several recurring guests came onboard, including DC Legends of Tomorrow grad Joseph David-Jones, Grammy winner Rhiannon Giddens and Cameron Scoggins, among others.

PHOTOS: Rachel Bilson in recent years

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Rachel Bilson in recent years
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Rachel Bilson in recent years
Actress Rachel Bilson arrives at the Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles August 7, 2011. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Actress Rachel Bilson, who stars in the upcoming movie "Waiting for Forever," poses for a portrait in Los Angeles February 1, 2011. The film, which opens in theaters on Friday, has as its center an actress, whose TV show gets canceled, causing her to reexamine her personal goals and love life. Bilson lost her job on TV drama "The O.C." when it ended in 2007, and she has since been linked romantically in an up-and-down relationship with actor Hayden Christensen. Picture taken February 1, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Rachel Bilson attends the fifth annual Baby2Baby gala honoring Jennifer Garner at 3Labs in Culver City, on November 12, 2016. / AFP / CHRIS DELMAS (Photo credit should read CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images)
CULVER CITY, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Rachel Bilson arrives at the 5th Annual Baby2Baby Gala at 3LABS on November 12, 2016 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14: Actress Rachel Bilson speaks onstage at the No Kid Hungry Benefit Dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel on October 14, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14: Rachel Bilson arrives at the No Kid Hungry Benefit Dinner at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on October 14, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Actress Rachel Bilson attends the Target Launch of Cat and Jack brand at Brooklyn Bridge Park on July 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Actress Rachel Bilson attends CHANEL Dinner in Honor of Baby2Baby at CHANEL Boutique on September 29, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: Actress Rachel Bilson attends the CW Network's New York 2014 Upfront Presentation at The London Hotel on May 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 17: Actress Rachel Bilson attends The CW Network's New York 2012 Upfront at New York City Center on May 17, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 25: Actress Rachel Bilson arrives at the Premiere of Paramount Pictures' 'Fun Size' at Paramount Theater on the Paramount Studios lot on October 25, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 12: Actress Rachel Bilson attends The Art of Elysium's 6th Annual HEAVEN Gala presented by Audi at 2nd Street Tunnel on January 12, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Art of Elysium)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 31: Actress Rachel Bilson attends the CHANEL Dinner For NRDC 'A Celebration Of Art, Nature And Technology' held at a private residence on May 31, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
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Read more: 'Nashville' Showrunner Opens Up About Losing Connie Britton

Herskovitz toldTHRin December that he and Zwick that they wanted "more diversity" in season five. "We've actually expanded the cast is the truth, but we've done it in such a way so that the characters are in relationship to other characters," he said. "So it's trying to integrate all these characters together in ways that you can tell their stories together."

Discussing the second half of season five, Herskovitz told THR there will be a time jump onscreen similar to the length of the show's hiatus. "Certainly everyone is still dealing with Rayna's death — that doesn't just go away. For some of the characters, that's a big part of the storyline, but the other characters are moving on with their lives and trying to figure it out," he said. "They're dealing with success and failure and all of the vicissitudes of life in the music business and in a city like Nashville where there's so much creative energy and creative connections between people."

Watch the trailer for the second half of Nashville's fifth season here:


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