Tuesday 25 October 2016

Nashville's Charles Esten says axed show 'still in with a shot'

Published 10/06/2016 | 17:11

Nashville follows the lives of fictitious country music singers
Nashville follows the lives of fictitious country music singers

US actor Charles Esten has said Nashville is "still in with a shot" amid reports that the axed TV series may be brought back from the dead.

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Nashville's network ABC cancelled the show, which is also broadcast in the UK, after four seasons in May.

But production company Lionsgate Television is said to be nearing a deal to revive Nashville with US cable network CMT and streaming platform Hulu.

Esten, 50, is best known for playing troubled singer-songwriter Deacon Claybourne in the show which chronicled the lives of fictitious country music singers.

"We're still in with a shot," he told the Press Association.

"Lionsgate itself is in discussions with many different places where we could end up - and different platforms, whether it's Hulu, Netflix or CMT."

The widespread appeal of the show has resulted in a Nashville In Concert UK tour which kicks off on June 13.

Esten will be joined by cast members, such as British actor Sam Palladio (Nashville's Gunnar Scott), who will perform songs from the TV drama.

"The tour in the UK sold out pretty quickly. The show has caught on internationally," Esten said.

Long before his portrayal of Deacon Claybourne, the American made regular appearances on popular Channel 4 improv series Whose Line Is It Anyway?

The versatile Pittsburgh-born star is joining the stage line-up of Whose Line Is It Anyway? ... Live At The London Palladium for one night only on June 12.

Regulars Colin Mochrie, Josie Lawrence, Greg Proops, Brad Sherwood and Jeff Davis will be presided over by Clive Anderson, the original sardonic host of the series which ran from 1988-1999.

Esten made his debut on the UK incarnation in 1992 and signed on for the US version seven years later.

Ahead of his arrival in London, he spoke with warmth about having the opportunity to take part in Whose Line Is It Anyway? once more in the UK.

" I'm in the UK doing the Nashville tour and the very first day I get there, some of my best friends in the world happen to be doing improv at the Palladium and so they just asked me along."

Esten added: "It's really kind of amazing it worked out so perfectly, but I was very happy to say yes."

Asked for a preference between the UK and the US version, Esten opted for diplomacy.

"It's different in wonderful ways," he replied.

"I love them both. There's something very special in my heart about the original UK version because that's how I first came to know Whose Line Is It Anyway? and how I came to be on the US show."

He continued: "I just remember the British audiences being very sharp, very intelligent, very quick and with an edge of their own too."

However, Esten would not be drawn on whether he will treat fans at the London Palladium to political barbs aimed at Donald Trump.

The controversial presumptive Republican presidential nominee has provided comics and satirists with a good deal of material.

Esten said: "I'm one of the least political guys in Whose Line Is It Anyway? and I don't prepare the material - none of us do."

He added: "It's strange times we're living in, that's for sure. And comedians have to work hard to keep up."

:: Whose Line Is It Anyway? ... Live At the London Palladium runs until June 19.

Press Association

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