Emmy-nominated writer, actress and producer Jen Richards (Her Story, Doubt) is joining the cast of Nashville in the recurring role of Allyson Del Lago, a tough but understanding physical therapist who helps a Series regular through one of their most difficult challenges. This marks CMT's first transgender character and the first out transgender actor on the network. Nashville makes its triumphant season five debut on CMT with the special two-hour premiere on Thursday, January 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Long-time SVOD partner Hulu will continue to bring fans their favorite series 24/7 by making all Nashville episodes available to stream the day after they air on CMT.
Richards is an accomplished writer and actress, as well as a consultant and advocate who works with national organizations and media projects. She is the co-writer/star/producer of the Emmy-nominated series Her Story; co-producer of the upcoming docu-series More Than T and writer of its accompanying Trans 102 series; a 2016 Outfest Screenwriting Fellow for her feature script Any Given Week; and will be appearing in several upcoming projects, including CBS's Doubt. Her television credits include series regular on E!'s I Am Cait, Logo's Beautiful As I Want To Be and AOL's True Trans with Laura Jane Grace. She has appeared in several videos for BuzzFeed, OWN, and After Ellen. She has published essays on multiple platforms and wrote the 2015 Sep/Oct cover story "What Trans Movement?" for The Advocate.
Prior to her transition, Richards had a successful career in nonprofit and arts management, received her BA in Philosophy from Shimer College, studied at Oxford University and in Kyoto, Japan, participated in Outward Bound, was active in theater, and published articles, lectured, and led workshops on a variety of topics across the country. She was born in Mississippi, where all her father's family remains, calls North Carolina home, where her mom, brother and sister-in-law live, and her favorite musical artists include Alison Krauss, Chris Stapleton, The Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams, Miranda Lambert, Patsy Cline, Shelby Lynne, Steve Earle, and Sugarland.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops founder Rhiannon Giddens is joining the show in a recurring role as Hanna Lee "Hallie" Jordan, a social worker with the "voice of an angel." Additionally, an open casting call was held in Nashville recently for a character named Clay, a 20-something African-American musician "destined for great things."
Produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios, and Opry Entertainment, production commenced on Nashville earlier this month. The series is executive produced by Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (the creators of "Thirtysomething"), Steve Buchanan and Callie Khouri. Jayson Dinsmore and Morgan Selzer executive produce for CMT.
Nashville is set against the backdrop of the city's music scene and follows Rayna Jaymes and Juliette Barnes. Both women face personal and professional challenges as they navigate their paths as artists and individuals. Surrounding them and often complicating their lives are their family, friends and, in some cases, lovers, as well as the up-and-coming performers and songwriters trying to get ahead in the business. Music City can mean so many things to different people. In Nashville, musicians and songwriters are at the heart of the storm driven by their own ambitions. Some are fueled by their creativity and passion for fame. Others struggle to cope with the pressures of success and are doing everything in their power to stay on top.
Nashville stars Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes, Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes, Clare Bowen as Scarlett O'Connor, Chris Carmack as Will Lexington, Will Chase as Luke Wheeler, Charles Esten as Deacon Claybourne, Jonathan Jackson as Avery Barkley, Sam Palladio as Gunnar Scott, Maisy Stella as Daphne Conrad and Lennon Stella as Maddie Conrad.
The series airs in 82 international markets on six continents. Since its debut, the show has inspired 10 soundtracks, including a Christmas album, which has collectively sold more than one million album units and over 5 million single-track downloads to date. It has also been nominated for multiple Emmy, Golden Globe, and Critics Choice awards.