Jen Richards joins 'Nashville' Season 5

Wade Sheridan

A video posted by Jen Richards (@smartassjen) on

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Transgender actress Jen Richards will be joining the cast of Nashville Season 5 in a recurring role.

According to CMT, the new home of the drama series after it was cancelled by ABC, Richards will be portraying the show's first transgender character, Allyson Del Lago.


The character is described as a "tough but understanding physical therapist who helps a series regular through one of their most difficult challenges."

While the identity of the series regular is being kept under wraps, signs point to it being singer Juliette Barnes portrayed by Hayden Panettiere, who was last seen missing and presumed dead following a plane crash.

Richards will also be holding the distinction of being the first transgender person and character to appear on CMT.

Richards shared her excitement for the role on Instagram Tuesday alongside a video. "So, yep, I'm joining the cast of @nashvillecmt! It's a small role, but a good one," she wrote before touching on becoming the first transgender presence on the network.

"Gotta say, if someone were to ask me the next show/network to cast an out trans actor in a part (that's both alive and not a punchline), I wouldn't have guessed this one! Everyone on set has been wonderful and of course I love this city, in equal parts for its food, music, and men," she continued.


"Thanks to everyone for their well wishes, and let's hope this is another sign of changing times!"

Nashville is set to return with a two-hour premiere on Jan. 5, 2017.

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