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'Nashville' Has Nabbed An 'Empire' Alum

Nashville returns to CMT in June with its midseason premiere, and considering it has 12 more episodes to go this season, plus a 16-episode Season 6 order, many fans may wonder where the show could possibly go after the death of its lead character Rayna Jaymes. One way its new showrunners hope to breathe life back into the series after a devastating first half of Season 5 is by adding fresh guest stars in recurring roles. Helping to fill the narrative gap is a recently-departed Empire alum, but who does Kaitlin Doubleday play on Nashville? Well, getting killed off her last musical drama is probably the best thing to happen to her singing career.

Doubleday will play a veteran singer/songwriter on Nashville named Jessie Caine, who moves back to the country music town after a bitter divorce and heartbreaking custody battle that ended in losing her son. She moves back to find her place in music again and, along the way, reconnects with her old acquaintance Deacon. Although she's been a musician for decades, Jessie never quite reached the level of commercial success we see with some of the other characters on Nashville. So even though she and Deacon go way back, she still needs his help to book a gig at The Bluebird.

Since Jessie and Deacon are both recently heartbroken, they're natural allies in grief, and a connection they've been struggling to form with others develops between them. Fans have already seen the beginnings of Deacon's withdrawal phase in the two episodes following Rayna's death, and Jessie seems like the person who reminds him that there's life outside his overwhelming sadness. But don't count on anything romantic to happen for awhile. It seems like this one is going to be a slow burn, if it goes anywhere at all.

The good news is, we'll finally get to hear Doubleday sing, which she claims she's been wanting to do since her days on Empire. She told Entertainment Weekly:

It's just odd that I would come from one musical drama to the only other musical drama. It seems a little bit easier on Nashville to cohesively blend the storylines with a song that's meaningful. It seemed more difficult because — on Empire — there were really only two or three people that sang. I definitely wanted to sing on Empire all the time, and I got to come and sing here!

You can catch Doubleday when Nashville returns for Season 5B on Thursday, June 1 on CMT.