Nashville fans may have been frustrated with the Season 4 finale -- currently the show's series finale -- but an executive from the TV drama's production company says the decision to run with that ending was a strategic one ... and could mean good things for the future of the currently canceled show.

"There's a little short-term pain but ultimately long-term gain because we intend and are quite focused and are in substantive and serious conversations with multiple buyers about continuing the show on another platform," Lionsgate TV chairman Kevin Beggs tells the Hollywood Reporter. "If we didn't feel that was going to happen, we might have gone a different way."

Beggs explains that the show ending that aired was the one that Nashville creator Callie Khouri and showrunner Dee Johnson had planned originally. The Lionsgate exec calls "a quickly assembled, too-easy wrap-up" -- i.e., a finale that was changed following ABC's decision to cancel the show -- a "disservice to the fans who have invested four years in this great case and these great stories."

Shortly after ABC announced that Nashville would no longer air on the network, Lionsgate began shopping the show to other potential outlets. On a recent earnings call, Beggs shared that multiple outlets are interested in continuing the series, and he tells THR that the finale may have helped; in fact, another outlet expressed interest the morning after the finale aired.

"We're not looking to write ourselves into a corner, and actually wrapping up stories in a somewhat saccharine way is the worst box you can put yourself in," Beggs explains, adding, "There will be detractors, but on the whole, the notion that this show will continue has been so positively received that I have to play the long game. And the long game is about keeping this show going. We wouldn't take such a strong position to advocate for the ending that we wanted to stick with — the original ending that was crafted by our team — if we didn't feel good about our chances moving forward."

If, however, talks fall through, Beggs notes that Lionsgate would share that alternate ending with Nashville fans -- "but it won't be as good as the ending we have given then."

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