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Brothers & Sisters show creator Opts Out; Noooooo
Topic Started: Jan 3 2008, 02:41 AM (560 Views)
MTSRocks
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Does this spell the end of Brothers and Sisters?

From TVGuide.com

Brothers & Sisters Cuts Baitz: "I Was Naive," Reflects Show Creator

Jon Robin Baitz has left the show he created, Brothers & Sisters, after repeatedly bumping up against differently thinking ABC decision-makers. "These little rumors floated about for months," Baitz says in a blog at TheHuffingtonPost.com, making reference to a "cutesy blindish item" posted to TVGuide.com's own Ausiello Report.

What brought about this breakup between successful show and its sire? As shared in a separate posting, Baitz — who last season blogged for TVGuide.com — cites pressure to steer B&S away from older-skewing characters and dramatic stories and toward the younger set and soapier tales. Now, the always-candid writer says, "I 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. I will never again have to do a notes call wherein the fear and seasickness of the creative execs always prevail over taking a risk, resulting more often than not in muddy and flattening or treacly sweet compromises."

Now, Baitz writes, "I cannot help but dream about what my version of Brothers & Sisters would have looked like. A show that could simply hold on the aging and real face of Sally Field, and reflect the sorrow and rage there... reflect the cold and funny sexuality of Patty Wettig's Holly, the perfect reconstruction of the L.A. mistress... hold on the eyes of Ron Rifkin, and reflect the wisdom, joyous childishness and the melancholy. A show [that] could have followed the youngest, prodigal son to Iraq [and] shown his fellow soldiers, dying... allowed Calista Flockhart's character to be actually truly political... go even further in dealing with Kevin Walker's internalized homophobia and his fear of contact with others."

All the above, Baitz says, "is what I thought I was making." In retrospect, though, he notes, "I was naive, totally naive."


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MTSRocks
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IA with him and pleased that he stood up for his beliefs, but this sucks for the show. You can already see what he's talking about too. Sally Field and Patricia Wettig are the best part of the show for me. Why must network execs ALWAYS interfere in a good thing.
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Mason


WHAT?! Nooooooo!!!

Please, ABC, I BEG of you, do NOT ruin the BEST SHOW ON TV right now!!!!
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Rick
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Dreamlander

MTSRocks
Jan 3 2008, 02:41 AM
Baitz — who last season blogged for TVGuide.com — cites pressure to steer B&S away from older-skewing characters and dramatic stories and toward the younger set and soapier tales. Now, the always-candid writer says, "I 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.

What the fuck does ABC want?

Since it's debut it's been #1 in it's time period. It's averaging 12.6 million viewers for the season and a 4.8/10 in 18-49 demos? That's as good as SVU, CSI: Miami, & New York.

Screw you ABC, You take one step forward and two back.



B&S is my fave Primetime Soap, and I hate to say this, but I would rather they just cancel the show now, instead of seeing it run into the ground by pushing Holly, Saul, and Nora out of the forefront, and centering the show around Rebecca, Justin, Lena and more young characters.

:flipoff:
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AndyAMC
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^^ITA Rick!

This is horrible. Hopefully his speaking out will tempt others to speak out - and maybe these young demographic demands will finally go away.
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kelli_blue
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That really sucks for the show. Maybe it's because I'm not in my 20's anymore, but I really enjoy the older characters as opposed to the younger bunch. Bummer.
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ArizonaDaze
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Now I really believe that Rebecca will turn out to not be a Walker after all so the idiots at ABC can pair her with Justin. This really sucks.
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MTSRocks
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^^^It totally sucks. Everybody knows that it's the electrifying chemistry between Calista Flockhart and Sally Field that makes the show. Hell, Field is the GLUE that holds the damn show together, and whenever she's front and center the show thrives. So I don't know what the hell ABC is pulling here. This is why I prefer the paid-for-television shows sometimes because at least they have creative freedom to write gripping stories. ABC simply sucks.
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ArizonaDaze
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^Word!
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King
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This is not good news. Ugh. How disappointing. B&S was one of the best shows to debut in a couple of seasons.
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~bl~
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I don't watch Brothers & Sisters, but I agree with Jon Robin Baitz about what is going on in television. GAH. I got an interesting book which had a section with Ron Rifkin and it talked a lot about Baitz and how he revitalized his career, so I can see why he couldn't take the ageism and other crap.
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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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Rick
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Dreamlander

We probably shouldn't worry


After reading everything, Baitz's departure was pure and simple about TV politics, about continuing to grow a show that still has a shot to get a broader audience. This happens in TV all the time. Sometimes the person who creates the thing isn't the best guy to actually run the thing. When Berlanti came on the show did get much better and with Mark Perry (Wonder Years) producing I think it will be okay. I mean out of the 13 major characters, 3 are in their 20's, 3 in their 30's, 3 in their 40's and 3 are over 50, so it is still better balanced than most other shows.

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Deleted User
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I don't get the episode 203 thing. That sounds JUICY! Any speculation on the star? What the ep. was about?! :o
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Rick
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JERSoapsFan
Jan 6 2008, 02:27 AM
I don't get the episode 203 thing. That sounds JUICY! Any speculation on the star? What the ep. was about?! :o

Quote:
 
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…”


This was the first episode written by Baitz since Season one episode 15 "Love is Difficult" My guess of the star is either Belthazer Getty or Sarah Jane Morris. For me if felt out of character for her to take the baby and up and leave Tommy. Then Tommy starting to fall for Lena. IMO Tommy would have never cheated on Julia.



------------------------------

"History Repeating"
Prod Code: 203
Season: 2
First Aired: Sunday October 14, 2007
Writer: Jon Robin Baitz
Director: Matt Shakman

Justin is in pain, both from the injuries and the fact that Kevin is preparing a soothing bubble bath for him, complete with candles and relaxation music. The family gathers downstairs to discuss Justin, and Nora thinks her former addict son should take drugs to manage the pain. On the campaign trail, the Senator is learning that his bitter ex-wife is going on Larry King Live. At work, Saul is giving Tommy some marriage advice, because the wise old man knows exactly where this Lena storyline is going.

Nora is trying to convince Rebecca to talk to Justin about taking the drugs. This show needs to come up with a better role for VanCamp's character than as a mediator between Justin and Nora, because her talents deserve better. Justin and Rebecca go out for lunch, and when the check comes, a leg pain hits Justin and he collapses. She gets him back home, then Nora yells at Rebecca for taking him out without his wheelchair. Nora quickly backtracks, breaking down while trying to find out who to blame because she's trying to wrestle with the "why" of the situation. Justin eventually takes the drugs.

Kitty suggests the Senator talk to his ex-wife to prevent any potential scandals arising from her interview. She makes some valid points about how he was never there, and thankfully the show avoided making her a completely horrible person. Kitty sits down with the ex-wife, who explains that this is all about her reclaiming her own identity,which was overshadowed by her husband's career. Kitty simply informs her that the nanny is prepared to tell her story, which would go along with the Senator's. Ex-wife Courtney calls off the interview.

Scotty is back in Kevin's life, and in need of a lawyer. He was pulled over for a broken tail light and busted for a DUI, but he's claiming the cop was homophobic. Kevin takes about one minute to show off his mad law skillz and get the case dismissed due to an uncalibrated breathalizer. Scotty thanks him and offers to take Kevin out to a fancy restaurant. The two have dinner in the kitchen of the restaurant. It turns out Scotty is putting himself through chef school and won an internship as the high-scale restaurant's apprentice sous chef. When Scotty goes in for the kiss, Kevin stops it because of his Malaysian minister boyfriend Jason.

Julia's parents are visiting their granddaughter, and Tommy sees them as more of an imposition, which is hilarious considering the family he comes from. Tommy, flanked by Saul, agrees to go golfing with Julia's dad. The Walkers don't like Tommy's father-in-law at all, and after a brief blow-up, Julia's postpartum depression is brought up, and her dad threatens to take her and Lizzie back home to take care of her, since Tommy clearly can't. Julia thinks this is a good idea, because she still blames Tommy for the fact that Lizzie's twin brother William died in the hospital. Tommy talks it out with Saul, who dispenses some more wise advice about letting her grieve in her own way. Once she leaves, Lena calls up Tommy for a daily update, which turns into obvious foreshadowing of that inevitable affair.

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Deleted User
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Thanks. I agree. That was not what Tommy would have done. And that trampy girl he cheated with was SO an ABC plant.
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MTSRocks
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Never mind the fact that the trampy girl was an awful actress as well. *Shudders*
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Deleted User
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^ I thought she was cute; too bad she had to come in on the WRONG story, though. Awful timing, and poor characterization. An awful twist.
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Mason


I liked her character before she started screwing Tommy and sniffing after Justin. That just ruined her for me.
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