Connie Britton could be headed back to network TV. The star of American Horror Story (and Friday Night Lights) has been cast as the “reigning queen of country” Rayna in the ABC drama pilot Nashville. The show, from Thelma & Louise writer Callie Khouri and director/producer R.J. Cutler, is described as a family soap set against the backdrop of the Nashville music scene that follows one star at her peak (Britton) and one on the rise (Heroes’ Hayden Panettiere). Rounding out the ensemble are General Hospital’s Jonathan Jackson, Without a Trace’s Eric Close, Deadwood’s Powers Boothe, Burn Notice’s Robert Wisdom, Home and Away’s Clare Bowen, and musician Sam Palladio.
The pilot should have Music Row cred: Steve Buchanan, the Gaylord Entertainment exec who oversees the Grand Ole Opry and also serves as president of the Country Music Association’s board of directors, is also an exec producer.