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Viewing Single Post From: Brothers & Sisters show creator Opts Out
Rick
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Dreamlander

It seems that Baitz hasn't written any episodes this season as he was forced out in August 2007

UPDATE


Baitz makes it clear that ABC had been “unfailingly enthusiastic” about the gay storylines on B&S, a sentiment echoed by Greg Berlanti. What the network seemed less enthusiastic about was serious political debate and storylines that centered on the older cast members. In Baitz’s words, the “guardians” of the show “grew less patient with my efforts to sew in storylines that were more serious than funny.”

The way Baitz characterizes it, he was encouraged to disengage himself from active involvement in the show he created and instead spend his time thinking about new projects for ABC.

The plan was for him to return to B&S as a writer for the sophomore season, but only pen four episodes as opposed to the fourteen he had written or co-written in the first season.

The plan also had Berlanti stepping down as show runner for Brothers & Sisters in order to focus on two other projects picked up by ABC, Dirty Sexy Money and Eli Stone.

Though Berlanti still exercises substantial oversight on Brothers & Sisters, producer Mark B. Perry, who’s credits include The Wonder Years and One Tree Hill, was brought in to run things. Baitz’s post seems to indicate he did not have a hand in choosing Perry for the job. “The first few weeks of production were an exercise in diplomacy, politeness and tact.”

It now appears as though Baitz was effectively sidelined from the series as far back as August of 2007, and, surprisingly, his benching came at the request of a cast member.

From the December 25th blog post: “A storyline I had NOT written in a script with my name on it [presumably episode 203], was greeted by the despair of one of our stars.” Even though this storyline was “vetted and probed by all execs… as well as the producer in charge of the transition [here Baitz most likely refers to Berlanti], I was instantly and inexplicably asked to step back entirely…”

In October of this year, Baitz signed a two-year, seven figure development deal with ABC. According to Variety, as part of that deal he would “remain as exec producer on B&S as well as develop other projects for the studio.”

Unfortunately the writer’s strike, or more specifically Baitz's musings on The Huffington Post about said strike, seem to have soured his relationship with ABC and thrown a monkey wrench into the development deal.

His first post addressing the walkout, titled “Strike Me Out,” had him voicing deep ambivalence about the strike and his belief that there were far more important issues to focus on, chief among them the war in Iraq. He took some heavy criticism from other writers, and a few days later wrote another post, “Strike Me In” in which he apologized for his earlier ambivalence and came out whole-heartedly in favor of the strike.

It is ironic that Baitz would go from first infuriating his fellow writers to then infuriating his studio bosses. He no doubt burned bridges with comments such as, “It must be awful to live with that much chaos in your head and that much rot in your heart. How do they [the studio heads] look in the mirror, how do they look at their kids?”

That little rhetorical question appears to have cost Baitz dearly. Hollywood development contracts like the one Baitz has with ABC often have “force majeure” clauses, which give the studio the unilateral option to cancel the contract if there’s a work stoppage for more than six weeks. Hence, one side benefit of a protracted writers’ strike for the studios is that it allows them to get out of development deals that they no longer see as advantageous. And that is exactly what appears to have happened to Baitz.

In his December 12th post entitled a “A Very Good Dog Who Taught Me Some New Tricks,” Baitz obliquely references being force-majeured out of his production deal with ABC after asking in print how studio heads – the head of ABC included – “can look themselves in the mirror.”
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Brothers & Sisters show creator Opts Out · Primetime Discussion