Season 5 of Nashville took a turn in February when fan-favorite character Rayna Jaymes died after a fatal car crash in episode nine. And even though the show wrapped up in August, many are still wondering: why did Connie Britton leave the hit show?
Could it be because the actress has an exciting new gig lined up?! The 50-year-old will play a 911 dispatcher in Fox’s new show, 9-1-1, which is set to air in 2018. “There are two types of emergency. The first kind is the one we all have every day,” she says in the new promo. “Then there’s the second kind of emergency, the kind that comes without warning.”
The upcoming show — which she joined thanks to Ryan Murphy, whom she worked with on The People vs. OJ Simpson and American Horror Story — will also star Angela Bassett and Peter Kraus. The plotline will focus on the busy and high-pressure lives of paramedics and police offers while at work and at home.
In a previous interview with TV Line, the actress opened up about her tough decision to exit the series. “It was something that had been percolating over time, and there were lots of different reasons behind it. But my priority was really making sure that the timing was right. My priority has always been Nashville,” Connie began. “When the show was moved [from ABC] to CMT and we got these great new showrunners — Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick— I was [confident] the show would be in a good place. Because one thing we learned over the summer is how passionate the fans are. We would not be on the air right now if it weren’t for the fans.”
“We’ve all been so incredibly grateful for that. But the fans love every single one of these characters. And the show is now in a place where all of these characters can live and just be incredibly dynamic and amazing. I feel like Nashville can go on indefinitely,” Connie said.
When asked if she thought her character, Rayna, had accomplished everything she’d hoped on the show, Connie candidly replied, “Maybe that was part of [me leaving]. As I said, there were a lot of things that came into play. Some of them were personal… It was just the right timing.”
Connie as Rayna on Season 3 of Nashville.
“It was very hard to say goodbye. Every time I worked with [Chip Esten aka Deacon Claybourne] we just both kind of would look at each other with these sad, puppy-dog faces. And then I’d be like, ‘I’m really sorry, babe.’ It was very hard! Particularly, of course, those final episodes. And that final episode was devastating. There was no easy way around it for anybody,” she said.
Shortly after she left Nashville, Connie teased a comeback to the show! “She’s really dead. I’m sorry, but I gotta tell it like it is. She’s really dead. But, I think the twin sister idea is not bad. I mean, it’s Nashville, anything could happen,” she said. Will she have time for a return now that she’ll be on 9-1-1? We’ll have to wait and see!