There are more changes in store for ABC's hit drama Nashville in its upcoming fourth season. TV Line reports that Aubrey Peeples has moved from a recurring role to full-time status as a series regular.

Peeples portrays Layla Grant, a reality TV singing competition runner-up who first scored a record deal as a pop-country sensation, but is trying to re-mold herself as a more serious singer-songwriter. The character will be the focus of more screen time for Season 4 of the popular show, which is set amidst the scheming and deal-making of the music business in Music City.

Meanwhile, Grant's manager/boyfriend, Jeff Fordham (played by Oliver Hudson), has been downgraded from a regular character to a recurring character, while Nashville star Eric Close, who portrays Mayor Teddy Conrad, has been dropped as a series regular as part of a deliberate shift in focus on the part of the show's writers and producers. The new season will focus entirely on the music business in Nashville, with none of the political intrigue that has been a part of the show's first three seasons. ABC has declined to comment on rumors that Close may continue to make guest appearances.

Season 4 of Nashville is set to premiere on Sept. 23, and thanks to a $10 million incentive package pulled together from public and private funding, the show will continue to film in its namesake city, where its presence has been enormously beneficial to the local economy. With its fourth season now guaranteed, the show has also been picked up for syndication by AXS TV, which will air past seasons.

Peeples will put her musical talents to further use when she makes her big screen debut on Oct. 23 in Jem and the Holograms.

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