In case you hadn’t heard the news back in March, part of Nashville’s attempts to stem the bleeding from Connie Britton’s departure was adding Kaitlin Doubleday of Empire — she debuts next week — and Rachel Bilson of our beloved Hart of Dixie (and The O.C., but … it’s always BlueBell for me). Rachel doesn’t start for another couple episodes, but the show now airs on CMT and the cast was already a fixture at various country awards shows and on local stages, so it wasn’t a surprise to see her here. I am undecided on her outfit, though. Part of me really, really likes the mix of Marilla Cuthbert, Cookie Lyon, and, well, Zoe Hart. But it also all seems a LITTLE casual, like someone told her “CMTs” and she heard “TCAs.”

Here, by the way, is her character description, per Deadline: “…Alyssa Greene, a Silicon Valley marketing expert who is brought in to take Highway 65 to the next level. She isn’t a country music fan, which she’s not afraid to admit because the product doesn’t matter to her. It’s all about breaking through the old models and winning through disruption. Driven and brilliant, she’ll do anything to avoid showing vulnerability in business and relationships.” Sounds fairly trite. There has yet to be an exec on that show who wasn’t in opposition to our protagonists at some point, and I can just see Deacon blinking blankly at her now while Bucky scratches his fuzz. Something tells me Bilson will be about as convincing in this role as she was playing a skilled cardiologist turned qualified small-town physician. Jargon of any sort has never particularly been her forte, but I’m hopeful that — much as Dixie — did they’ll write to her considerable comic and heart-tugging strengths and leave behind anything else boring that doesn’t fly.

I haven’t had a chance to watch the newest Nashville episode (after Rayna’s demise at the end of the first half of the season, the show took a hiatus from which it just returned). I’m not sure if we’ll recap it or not, because the death of Rayna seems like an elegant time to walk away, but… knowing Rachel Bilson is coming has kept me from completely divorcing myself. What if she IS Zoe Hart 2.0? What if there are bralets and pastries? WHAT IF THEY CAST HOT NEIGHBOR WADE. What if she and Gunnar get it on? It might be too delicious to pass up.

[Photo: Getty]