TV

'Nashville' Stars Connie Britton And Hayden Panettiere Talk Music, Drama And More

07/27/2012 02:20 pm ET

Ever since ABC's fall drama "Nashville" started to circulate among members of the media, the Taylor Swift question began to come up.

Could Hayden Panattiere's character -- a beautiful, calculating country singer named Juliette Barnes who's become a huge crossover success -- be based on Taylor Swift?

"Aside from being around the same age and blond," there aren't similarities, Panattiere said at a Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour on Friday. "Not even height. [We are] very different, very different. I think you guys need to see [Juliette] and get to know her. I really think Taylor would disagree wholeheartedly as well -- she's much nicer than my character."

In the show, Connie Britton plays Rayna James, a very successful country artist who doesn't think much of Juliette's skills and is annoyed when her record label wants them to work together. But Britton said the show, which was penned by "Thelma and Louise" writer Callie Khouri, won't be about two successful women who are pitted against each other.

"We have a real opportunity to show complexity of these two kinds of people on this show, and particularly as women, we feel responsible to do that in a way that is true and dignified," Britton said. "My whole mantra from the beginning is, 'This is not a catfight.' I don't think anybody [associated with the show] is interested in that. I think we're much more interesting in seeing different people in different places in their lives and what their journeys will be."

But how much will Britton's Rayna James resemble her iconic "Friday Night Lights" character, Tami Taylor? Britton, who grew up in Virginia, said that they're not really the same person, though they're both strong Southern women.

"There probably won't be as many y'alls," Britton said with a laugh of Rayna.

As far as the music goes, Britton said it has been "a journey" for her to feel comfortable with singing in character as Rayna, though having T. Bone Burnett as the show's in-house producer has gone a long way toward calming her fears on that front. Panettiere said she had recorded an album when she was younger, so that aspect of her character wasn't foreign to her (and she affirmed that Britton's singing voice is just fine).

Producers said that original songs would be regularly featured on the show, and the entire cast raved about going to see live musicians in Nashville, where the show is being shot.

But don't expect actual music stars like Swift to make appearances on the show, at least at first.

"We're really focused on our cast," executive producer R.J. Cutler said.

"Nashville" premieres on ABC on Wednesday, October 10 at 10 p.m. ET

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