Nashville, the city, and Nashville, the country music industry, are expecting big things from Nashville, the new fall drama from ABC. The serialized drama, which stars Connie Britton as an country singer juggling her home life and struggling to remain a relevant artist, might not have made it on the air a few years ago.
But just as country music is moving toward the mainstream, the mainstream is gravitating toward country music — and TV execs, hungry for audiences, are eager to tap into country's loyal fan base. "We know from our proprietary research that about 96 million Americans qualify as country music fans, based on their listening habits and purchase behavior," says Country Music Association marketing director Cory Chapman. "That leads to a big opportunity for a network to go after that audience."