What Should Nashville Do About Hayden Panettiere’s Real Life Pregnancy?

Ah, Nashville. We watch you for the great music and Connie Britton’s luminescent skin, but we continue to tune in to see how you’ll one-up yourself in terms of ridiculous plot lines. Seriously, what can you possibly add to a nighttime soap opera that’s already featured a country star in a coma, a fake miscarriage made more convincing with pig’s blood, and a murder-suicide carried out in order to prevent a sex tape from leaking? The only two possible answers here are a) a pregnancy of dubious paternity or b) the arrival of a heretofore unacknowledged evil twin.

Lucky for us, Hayden Panettiere is pregnant in real life, and her character, Juliette Barnes, had some drunk sex with evil Jeff Fordham (Oliver Hudson), the nasty record label exec who is most definitely not her boyfriend — how could she cheat on Avery (Jonathan Jackson)??? He became so likable! — so we’re definitely getting a pregnancy this season; it’s been confirmed that her pregnancy will be written into the series. We are thrilled for Hayden in real life, but also, way to give us the next amazing plot twist on the show, girlfriend!

This may be one of the rare instances when an actress’s real-life pregnancy is perfectly timed. There was only so much standing behind a chair we could take from Olivia Pope on Scandal, you know? And Juliette is a performer — she’s on stage in nearly every episode — so there will be no clever hiding behind pillows or carrying around enormous purses like on every other show ever. So with the perfect built-in who’s-the-daddy plot, we’re looking forward to all the new and interesting ways this pregnancy will manifest on the show. In case the producers were looking for some “outside the box” ideas, allow us to offer just a few suggestions before tonight’s premiere:

  • Juliette hides her pregnancy as long as she can but after weeks of speculation, she pulls a Beyonce at the CMAs and rubs her belly conspicuously after finishing her performance. Avery and Jeff are both shocked but only one of them steps up to the plate — and you’ll never guess which one it is! TWIST!
  • After this out-of-wedlock pregnancy tarnishes the Highway 65 brand, Rayna cuts Juliette loose from the label and, dead broke, Juliette is forced to sell her newborn baby photos to the first tabloid that offers her some cash, and she’s humiliated when the only offer comes from CountryTattler.biz.
  • Juliette realizes she can’t care for a baby alone and takes Scarlett, who has abandoned her music career, in and offered her a home in exchange for nanny services. As you would imagine, Scarlett is the perfect Mary Poppins.
  • Juliette learns the hard way that there are NO good off-the-rack sequined maternity outfits, so she partners with DOTS to produce a line of bump-friendly performance gear called “Stage Mom.”
  • Against doctor’s orders, Juliette makes a personal appearance at an out of state amusement park and her water breaks on the spot. Her baby is delivered by the operator running the Whip ride, and she names the baby “Whip” in his honor.
  • Charlie Wentworth, Juliette’s wealthy former lover, finds out about her pregnancy and, in a fit of rage and jealousy, kidnaps her. Juliet manages to text her otherwise-useless assistant, Emily her GPS coordinates from the trunk of Charlie’s car, and Emily manages to track them down and kill Charlie. Brought together by their dire circumstances, Juliette realizes it’s Emily she’s been in love with the whole time.
  • After months of creative drought and tabloid fodder, Juliette gives birth and is so enamored with her baby that it gives her a spark of creative energy. “You Complete Me,” a song that features a sample from Jerry Maguire and a catchy hook, hits No. 1 and propels her to the top of the charts.

We can’t wait to see how it really plays out. Not much can shock us, but…wait a minute! What if Juliette gives birth to her own evil twin???

[Photo: Getty Images]