Wednesday, September 16, 2015


The Special Airs in Conjunction with the Network Premiere of the Hit Drama NASHVILLE on Saturday, Sept. 26, Featuring Three Back-To-Back Episodes Starting at 8pE

As Part of the Premiere Event, Episodes will Air with Limited Commercial Interruption for Four Weeks, Every Saturday from Sept. 26 through Oct. 17

AXS TV kicks off its countdown to the network premiere of NASHVILLE with an all-new episode of THE BIG INTERVIEW: NASHVILLE SPECIAL EDITION, hosted by legendary newsman Dan Rather and featuring series stars Connie Britton and Charles Esten. The exclusive event, set to air on Tuesday, September 22, at 8pE, premieres in advance of the AXS TV debut of the hit country music drama, launching on Saturday, September 26 at 8pE. Each week will feature three back-to-back episodes, with encore airings every Saturday evening at 11pE and Tuesday evenings at 9pE. As part of the premiere festivities, AXS TV will air the NASHVILLE episodes with limited commercial interruption for the first four Saturdays, from September 26 through October 17.

During the half-hour special, Rather visits the set of NASHVILLE, sitting down with Connie Britton and Charles Esten for a lively discussion spanning the first three seasons of the show, and giving viewers a sense of what they can expect going forward. In separate segments, Rather speaks with an enthusiastic Britton about what it’s like to play country music legend Rayna Jaymes, whom she describes as a strong businesswoman who has the wisdom and experience to thrive in the ever-changing music industry. Britton also touches on the show’s inspiring message, and opens up about what made her want to be a part of NASHVILLE. “I was so excited about the idea of this world,” said Britton. “I was also very excited about the idea of singing, which I hadn’t done in many years. I was actively seeking doing things that would challenge me and be different from what I had been doing before, and felt risky and felt a little scary. I decided that it would be kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and that’s how it happened.”

Sitting down with Charles Esten, Rather covers a variety of topics including the show’s tremendous authenticity, and the way his role allows him to work within his two passions—acting and music. On why he enjoys playing his character, the troubled Deacon Claybourne, Esten says, “He's nobody's hero, because he fails constantly. And what he does is he just keeps pickin' himself back up and tryin' to be a better man the next day. Tryin' to be who he thinks he could be.” Esten feels a responsibility not only to the character, but to the show’s loyal audience, who have developed a strong connection to Deacon and his struggles, explaining, “They're not just plot points for people. They're what people are living. So it raises a desire in you to really do it justice.” The candid conversation also touches upon Esten’s personal life, his dedicated charity work, and his daughter’s battle with leukemia that he credits with helping him to put the truly important things in life into perspective. Esten also sings a few heartfelt bars of his favorite song from the show—the moving ballad, “A Life That’s Good,” co-written by country phenom Ashley Monroe.

Set in the heart of Music City, NASHVILLE follows the lives of a group of recording artists dealing with the highs and lows of making it in the cutthroat music industry. Britton stars as Rayna Jaymes—an industry icon fighting to stay on top as a new generation of stars, led by Hayden Panettiere’s talented and troubled songstress Juliette Barnes, light up the charts. In addition to its dramatic storylines and memorable performances, NASHVILLE has attracted a wide array of guest appearances from some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Christina Aguilera, Florida Georgia Line, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Wyclef Jean, Katie Couric, and Conan O’Brien, just to name a few. AXS TV acquired the exclusive primetime cable rights to the first three seasons of NASHVILLE in June, after reaching a multi-year licensing agreement with the Disney-ABC Television Group.

“THE BIG INTERVIEW: NASHVILLE SPECIAL EDITION is the perfect primer for AXS TV’s NASHVILLE premiere event,” said Michele M. Dix, AXS TV’s senior vice president, programming and development. “Whether viewers are visiting NASHVILLE for the first time, or just want to relive the intense drama and show-stopping musical numbers, they won’t want to miss this exclusive backstage pass as Dan Rather gives them an intimate look at one of the most captivating series on television, led by two of its biggest stars.”

NASHVILLE is produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios and Opry Entertainment. Dee Johnson (“Boss,” “The Good Wife”), Callie Khouri (“Thelma & Louise”) and Steve Buchanan are executive producers of the series.

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