The 35-year-old actress, who first made a name for herself on teen TV show The O.C., was last seen on television when her programme Hart of Dixie came to an end in 2015 after four seasons.

Rachel announced her new role on Instagram, by sharing a picture of the logo for character Rayna James' fictional record company Highway 65.

"Music city, here I come," she captioned the snap, along with a headphone emoji.

Empire star Kaitlin Doubleday, who was killed off the hip hop series in the season three premiere last year (16), is also joining the cast, although she has similarly kept quiet about her character's identity.

Instead, she shared a photo of The Bluebird Cafe, where the characters of the programme undertake live performances, writing in the caption: "This will definitely be a change of pace!"

Further details about Rachel and Kaitlin's characters have yet to be revealed, but it can be assumed they will be involved in the creative side of Nashville, judging by the nature of the pictures they have shared.

Meanwhile, Nashville executive producer and showrunner Marshall Herskovitz is looking forward to welcoming the duo to the drama.

"We welcome Rachel and Kaitlin into our incredibly talented ensemble," he said in a statement. "We fondly anticipate the second half of the season filled with surprising twists and turns that make Nashville so beloved by the fans."

Nashville moved to the CMT (Country Music Television) network last year (16) after it was dropped from ABC after four seasons.

Stars of the show include Hayden Panettiere, Connie Britton and Clare Bowen, with story lines becoming even more dramatic and emotional since the move to CMT.

The mid-season finale of the fifth series aired on Thursday night (09Mar17) with another shocking twist keeping viewers on their toes.