Back in March, the show announced that Rachel Bilson would be joining its cast, making way for a mini-The O.C. reunion with Bilson and Chris Carmack as regular cast members. Now, fans are getting a first look at Bilson and learning more about her new role at Highway 65.
Nashville's showrunner, Marshall Herskovitz, told TV Guide that Bilson will play Alyssa Greene, "a Silicon Valley marketing expert who is brought in to take Highway 65 to the next level."
A marketing expert may be a far cry from Bilson's former roles as mean girl-turned environmental activist Summer Roberts and big-city doctor tossed into small Southern town Zoe Hart. But knowing that part of Bilson's charm is bringing comedy to any role is what's giving fans a jolt of excitement. Exactly how she'll fit in with the team at Highway 65 remains to be seen, however.
"There's some real interesting stories that are going to happen about Highway 65 and what changes they need to make in order to stay alive," Herskovitz explains. "That's where Rachel's character comes in as the chief strategy officer."
Another twist? Greene will be a total stranger to the world of Nashville and country music. So, while she may be an expert in the world of business, she won't be able to tell apart Shania Twain, Rayna James (Connie Britton), and Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere). Audiences will see Bilson's Greene go from a fish out of water to someone who has to live and breathe Nashville and country music.
"She plays a character who is really good at getting along with people," Herskovitz adds. "She's a bit of a cheerleader, and someone who is a peacemaker. There's an interesting dynamic within this character where her first aim is to have everybody get along. But that's not always possible in this world."
Bilson joins Empire's Kaitlyn Doubleday, another newcomer to the show. She'll play country crooner Jessie Caine, so there won't be the same stranger-in-a-new-town dynamic, but knowing how Juliette treats new folk, expect some country-tinged drama.
Get your first look at Bilson and Doubleday in action in CMT's preview clip, below.
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