How will Nashville Season 3 handle Hayden Panettiere's pregnancy?

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Could there be a mini-Juliette Barnes running around on "Nashville?" It might happen sooner than you think.

On Wednesday (May 28), reports started swirling that Hayden Panettiere and fiance Wladimir Klitschko are expecting their first child together. If the 24-year-old actress is pregnant, she'll definitely be showing quite a baby bump when "Nashville" returns for Season 3. So how will the ABC southern drama handle the star's growing bump? Here are a couple ways:

Juliette Barnes -- mother-to-be?
At the end of Season 2, Juliette had just torpedoed her relationship with Avery because she cheated on him with skeazy Jeff Fordham. Obviously, the easiest way to handle Panettiere's real-life pregnancy would be to have her onscreen counterpart pregnant as well. Since this is essentially a soap, the juiciest way to have Juliette get pregnant would be to have the paternity in question. Is Jeff the father? Is Avery the father? Should she keep the baby? What happens to her already unstable career when this news gets out? Juliette just can't catch a break.

Juliette Barnes -- bride-to-be?
If "Nashville" does write in Juliette's pregnancy, there could be a happier version too. What if Avery takes Juliette back and they get engaged and have a child together in rapid speed? Or at a slower pace, but the show has a time jump? Juliette might actually get her happy ending after all.

Juliette Barnes -- shotgun bride?
There's a less perfect ending for her and Avery, too. What if Juliette finds out she's pregnant -- and it's definitely Avery's -- so he gets back together with her out of obligation to raise their kid together? Their relationship would be strained and full of doubt, and that always makes for good drama.

Juliette Barnes -- hiding behind furniture?
Since everyone knows Juliette is in no position personally or professionally to have a baby -- nor has she even hinted that that's what she wants in her life right now -- Juliette won't be pregnant. Although ill-advised and quite laughable, "Nashville" could follow in the same vein as "Scandal" and "Hart of Dixie" and hide its pregnant star behind strategically placed furniture and lamps, creative camera angles and looser and looser fashion. But given that Juliette is a sucker for anything tight and revealing (not to mention her own birthday suit) that could be difficult to pull off.

Juliette Barnes -- MIA?
Or "Nashville" could pull a different kind of strategy that "Hart of Dixie" employed with Jaime King: Have Juliette Barnes take an extended vacation somewhere until her "baby bump" is no longer a problem. Maybe Juliette heads off to take a nice relaxing vacation somewhere until she can make a comeback in the country music industry? Maybe she heads to rehab after her breakup with Avery sends her straight to the bottle? Maybe she's off on an international tour since she decided to go forward with a career in pop music just like Taylor Swift? Of course, that would mean less Juliette on "Nashville," and that would be awful.

However "Nashville" decides to handle Panettiere's pregnancy onscreen, it will no doubt offer up an endless supply of drama when Season 3 returns this fall on ABC.
Photo/Video credit: ABC