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Jon Robin Baitz Writes About His Ouster from Brothers & Sisters

Brothers & Sisters Creator Writes About His Ouster

After months of behind-the-scenes turmoil on Brothers & Sisters, creator Jon Robin Baitz was recently removed from his day-to-day duties on the show. Now, in a two-part essay for the Huffington Post, he's written eloquently — but bitterly — about how he and ABC disagreed on the direction the show should take.

It's pretty fascinating reading (but long, so be warned — here's a link to part one and another to part two). Baitz takes shots at ABC executives, TV journalists, and Hollywood itself in the essays, saying he wanted B&S to focus on people in middle age and take on issues of race, sexuality, and politics, but that's not how things worked out. Here are some of the excerpts that stood out to me:

  • On watching B&S from the sidelines: "I can no longer argue for tone and can only watch as the demographic demands that have turned America into an ageist and youth-obsessed nation drives the storylines younger and younger, whiter and whiter, and with less and less reflection of the real America, which is made up, to the sorrow of the research departments, of people over 35 years of age and of many ethnicities and incomes."

For more, including what Baitz wishes the show could have been, just


  • On his vision for the show: "A show that could simply hold on the aging and real face of Sally Field, and reflect the sorrow and rage there, and reflect the cold and funny sexuality of Patty Wettig's Holly, the perfect reconstruction of the LA mistress. A show that would hold on the eyes of Ron Rifkin, and reflect the wisdom, joyous childishness and the melancholy. A show that could explore the lives of the low-income workers whose well-being depended on the fortunes of the family business, Ojai Foods. A show where we could have followed the youngest, prodigal son to Iraq . . . A show that allowed Calista Flockhart's character to be actually truly political — still a commentator, fully articulate and unashamedly b*tchy about what she knows and thinks she knows, and to be wrong as often as she is right. . . . A show that would go even further in dealing with Kevin Walker's internalized homophobia and his fear of contact with others. . . . A show that followed Rob Lowe's black charm down the rabbit hole of American politics and revealed the ugliness that lives there. That followed Balthazar Getty in his father's amoral American male footsteps, and allowed that actor's virtues to shine more fully. . . . When I signed on, that is what I thought I was making. I was naive, totally naive."
  • On what went right: "I am proud of the acceptance of sexuality in the show, and of the love the Walkers have for one another. I am proud that Kevin Walker is a viable portrait of a f***ed-up, flawed, scared and articulate man, whose sexuality is only one facet of a very complex persona. I'm proud of the way we put what is funny right next to that which is not. We come closest to that balance, in my opinion, in dealing with the reality of Rachel Griffith's life and loves, and the struggle of women to be mothers and have jobs, and a love life all at the same time."

Well, that certainly puts a different perspective on B&S. What do you think about Baitz's points?


Join The Conversation
Hautie Hautie 9 years
No wonder I had lost complete interest in the show this season. Gone is Kitty being the force of nature... with a big mouth. To being some simpleton. Whose whole life is now centered around the Senator. Same with Rachel Griffith's character. She was so much more interesting when she was not spending her whole time being angry about her marriage. It all now makes sense. Ken Olin seems to be the show runner now. And he is married to the actress who plays "Holly" and managed to weasel himself into that last episode I watched. Obviously he seems to have his own goals for where wants to show to go. Including adding himself to the cast on scene. I guess I won't bother to watch again... if there are ever any new episodes.
Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
page6 — It's still going on, but its creator is no longer really involved. Someone else is running the show, figuring out the plot lines, etc. It does only have a couple of new episodes left for this season anyway, though, because of the strike.
megnmac megnmac 9 years
I've noticed the influx of younger characters - like Justin coming back and the half sister and her friend being hired at Ojai and weaseling into the family... none of them are NEARLY as interesting to me as the actual adults of the show! I'm 26 and love seeing the amazing cast be allowed to be so multifaceted and deal with real issues in real ways - be they funny be they messy be they unlikeable. I do NOT like the younger side dominating the show, and probably would stop watching if it kept going that way (where Sally Fields is just a worrying foil to the younger set's drama and the other brothers and sisters were side plots). I love his vision, agree it was naive to think it could stay that way, and hope this doesn't stop him from creating more shows that push the envelope... one step at a time when necessary! I think Grey's is the best show at having kept together a cast of different ethnicities and backgrounds and no one too young (have to actually be able to be doctors!) and a mix of ages that reflects real issues and real problems and no character is a token with those qualities dominating their personality or issues they face... And I think West Wing is perhaps the only show I can think of (off the top of my head) that kept a fairly older cast through the entire show w/o letting a younger push take over... then again, it was less about those middle aged characters than what they were doing and they themselves took a sideline (like ER...)
page6lovers page6lovers 9 years
i'm confused. is brothers and sisters over?
MamaD MamaD 9 years
I would just hate it if it focuses more on the youger demographic!!!! I've loved the originality of it and dealing with older adults!!!!If you want 20 somethings go watch a show on CW!!!!!
shouldbeworking shouldbeworking 9 years
It needs to go to HBO.
liz26111 liz26111 9 years
I love Brothers and Sister but would not watch Baitz idea of it.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 9 years
Baitz's vision for the show clearly conflicted with the visions and goals of commercial television. I still enjoy Brothers and Sisters, but it's not the show that I thought I would be watching nor the show that Baitz thought it could become.
elle-j elle-j 9 years
this is one of my favorite shows on tv
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