Brothers & Sisters Exclusive: Find Out What Would've Happened to the Walkers in Season 6

Somewhere, the Walkers are drinking a lot of wine — as are their fans.

In early May, ABC dropped the axe on Brothers & Sisters amid reports that a shortened sixth season of the veteran family drama was being considered. In the end, budgetary issues brought the Walkers’ journey of secret siblings, partnership issues, lost love and family ties to an end.

Below, executive producer David Marshall Grant tells TVLine what he would have changed about the de facto series finale, hints at what was in store for the Walkers — another health scare for Kitty? — and reveals what it was like saying goodbye to the show’s on and offscreen family.

TVLINE | What was your reaction when ABC told you the show had been canceled?
I was, of course, sad. But everything must come to an end at some point. We had five great years. That’s a long run on television. I am so grateful for those years, and I’m so glad that we could tell as many stories as we could.

TVLINE | Did ABC give you a reason for the cancellation?
It really ends up being a budgetary situation. Our show was very expensive to produce and there are ways that we were saving money along the years. I think that there was an attempt to find a way to hit that magic number that [ABC] could produce the show at. And I think they just finally were unable to do it.

TVLINE | Over the years, you’ve had to say good-bye to a number of castmembers. Was it a relief, in a way, because now you wouldn’t have to trim the cast further?
I don’t think anybody was going to get cut, but [we would’ve had to] lessen the number of episodes that people were going to be in. I think that we could have augmented some of that with new faces. But yes, the truth is we were a family drama and at some point if you start to lose more and more of the family, it becomes less and less of what it was in the beginning. I think that as was said at the end of the finale, families change and they adapt and they become something else. I think that’s true of all families. So I think you could choose to look at the possibility of a different kind of evolving family and keep going. So I don’t think that it’s a relief that way, but you’re correct to point out that the original stories of just that family had shifted.

TVLINE | Speaking of the family, have you talked to any of the cast? How are they handling the news?
I’ve spoken to some of the cast, and I’ve exchanged e-mails. Brothers & Sisters was a family show, and I think it was a family that put it together. Starting from Robbie Baitz, who created it. His creation and his imprint on the family has lasted all the way through to the the finale. Likewise, [executive producers] Greg Berlanti, Allison [Schapker] and Monica [Breen], [director] Ken Olin… I bring up all these names because television is such a collaborative art. I think especially when you are doing a family drama, it really becomes sort of the essence of collaboration because people bring to the table their stories. And the actors brought their stories and their views of the world and that always made an impression on the writers. … You see it on the screen, and the truth is that their contributions really are parts of a whole. It’s all part of this family dynamic that intersects and creates this larger thing, which is larger than the brother, or the sister, or the uncle, or the mother. It’s the family.

TVLINE | In the finale, there were a lot of storylines that had closure. Did you see the writing on the wall?
I felt that we had a chance of getting picked up, but we also had a chance of not. I have to be honest: I thought it was a possibility. It came down to the wire. With that in mind, I felt I needed to do two things. What we tried to do was create a finale that had some closure in the sense that we had Scotty and Kevin with their family, Sarah getting married to Luc and discovering that Beau Bridges was her father, Nora falling in love with Brody, and Justin reconnecting to the girl he met in Season One…  These are ways of trying to give closure to this family, but at the same time the closure also represented the beginning of a new family, which was Brody’s daughter, who showed up in that finale; and Kitty being pregnant with Seth’s baby and the idea that that had some kind of medical jeopardy for her. And the fact that the girl that Justin reconnected with was married. Also, if Brody and Nora were going to live together, they had a new, larger extended family now to deal with because Brody clearly, as he says, has five children, if you count Sarah. So it was both closure and, at the same time, we were hoping that we were opening the door to a new world where there was a new family, a larger family.

TVLINE | Is there anything you would have changed about the episode had you known going in it was going to be a series finale?
I would have probably not had a medical problem looming for Kitty and her pregnancy. And I think I probably would have taken Justin’s relationship with [Tyler] further. The fact that she was married was setting up conflict and problems for him next season.

TVLINE | Were there any storylines you already had in the idea bin for next season?
We were definitely interested in Brody’s kids. I thought that his daughter would have been a great character. … Sarah had new brothers and sisters. So we were really interested in exploring Sara’s new family with Brody and how that could present conflict with the Walkers, because she now would have one foot in two worlds. Kevin and Scotty had finally created this family that they always wanted, so we were looking forward to telling the story of a gay family with two kids and what that means in terms of the world that we live in today. There was always the possibility of trying to think of that series ending [with] big drama. Something that would have been big for Nora. For Kitty, we were thinking seriously about whether or not we were going to put her in real medical peril because of the pregnancy and give her a choice  — a choice that she clearly made: Her unborn baby was going to be more important to her… Kitty was going to, obviously, refuse the chemo or whatever therapy she needed so that she didn’t harm her baby. And then the baby was going to be born fine and then we were going to decide what happened to Kitty.

TVLINE | Was the plan to have Seth back next season?
Yeah, we were going to bring Seth back.

TVLINE | Was there any thought about bringing back Emily VanCamp or Patricia Wettig if there was another season?
We would have loved to have brought Emily back and Patty. The Harpers were part of the show for so long, so it would have been so great to have had them come back for a few episodes.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jessica says:

    Brothers and Sisters needs to come back…It was a great show!!

  2. Sherry says:

    I just came here to check in and see when the new season was going to begin so I could set my auto record. I have not missed one episode. I am so dissappointed to find that you have cancelled. Please. What are you going to do to replace it! I can’t imagine. :-{

  3. Joanne says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed watching Brothers and Sisters and have been a fan from the very beginning. I have always admired Sally Field and believe her to be one of the greatest actresses of all time, and I really fell in love with the entire cast who are tremendous actors in their own right. I will miss them and the Walker family terribly. It is sad to see great stories and characters come to an end. What I don’t understand is why the networks let go of such great shows and keep bringing back season after season those awful realty shows. How many more lightyears will ABC run The Bachelor and Bachelorette–the world’s worst viewing.

    Wake up ABC, bring back Brothers and Sisters!!!

  4. Veronica says:

    I hope reconsider place back brothers & sisters, its a natural way of living of a common family… Its touchy, its tough and sometimes it gives you lessons upon your own life.
    We are so sad? So pelase reconsider to put it back!!!!!

  5. I JUST downloaded ALL 5 seasons and have been watching them all “I CANT & WONT” believe that this is it for the WALKER Family,

    There are soo many ways the next season could be taken.

    All i can say is i HOPE that when this Recession ENDS that “ABC will REALISE their mistake” and carry on making this show.

    Very Upset Person From the UK

  6. kate says:

    Bring it back! All my shows are ending. Kate Plus 8, GONE! Brothers & sisters, GONE, Table for 12, GONE, Little people big world, GONE, Desperate Housewives, GONE. I only have 1 show left! There’s no good tv anymore!

  7. Alison Urdan says:

    I have all of the shows taped so I can still watch every day.
    I am outraged that this amazing brilliant show has been cancelled.
    It was the ONLY show on that I HAD to watch every week –
    Only 5 seasons – look at all the other stuff that stays on forever, or is even on at all that doesn’t come close to comparison with Brothers and Sisters.

    Is there anything we can do to get this show back on?

  8. Karolyn says:

    I wish that there was a way to make our voices heard. I have also watched this show since the very first show and looked forward to watching it every Sunday and It is the only show that I feel that way about it crossed all topics, the writing was perfect and the actors made every person believable and you felt as if you were watching a family. I am so disappointed in ABC for letting such a outstanding program be cancelled and keep all the mindless crap. Is there anyone we can complain to that will listen?

  9. Missy says:

    Please bring it back! Surely it’s not that expensive, With so many shows cancelled and desperate housewives on its last season surely you can cough up the cash! Please you meanies!

    I have 3 fave shows. Brothers & Sisters, Desperate housewives & Eastenders (British soap). Thats all I watch. And bros & sis’ was by FAR the best!

    Damn it bring the show back.

  10. annette r says:

    ABC have certainly no consideration for their viewers they have proved that, why don’t they take off some of the violent or reality programs

  11. Luke says:

    I just found out it was cancelled today. Been looking forward to it all summer! I am done with watching abc.

  12. Amy says:

    Very disappointing ABC.

    You had 1 good series that based on people and relationships w/ integrity and very little violence. Apparently not what you are about.

    I guess the big networks need more blood and guts, murder and violence.

    Just what America needs more of too.

  13. Jodie says:

    I can not believe that ABC has cancelled this show!!! I have followed this since the beginning too…and all the people that I know watch it as well!! What will we do on Sunday nights!! I will have to say that I will be hard pressed to watch ANYTHING on ABC again!! Why take a good show off the air….for ONE MORE reality show!!!!!

  14. Malcolm says:

    One could think that maybe this show was starting to hit on issues that were real and current in todays society rather too closely and maybe ABC/NBC where worried of the potential backlashes about the storyline and the issues that presented. This to me seemed like a real life home, more so than a reality tv show. But rather a true story of real events and real issues. I personally found that some of the story lines represented in the show were the same experiences and sights i was seeing in my life … a connection was made. Thats the real power of real tv shows. ABC/NBC are throwing a winning combination away. I do also agree with another persons comment — the seasons could be broken up a bit so that while shorter, could have run more often through the year. Its like when you buy a dvd series, you buy one, then wanna see the rest, but sometimes have to wait yonks and donkeys years till the next season is released. This show will be greatly missed, a drama show with real issues, creating real connections (a bow in honour of the creators and writers of the show)

  15. Pam Wilson says:

    The new year looks like it would have been one of the best to date

  16. sandra says:

    why why do they always discontinue my favorite nail polish lipstick bra’s and now my all time favorite television drama
    if it is not broken please do not fix it
    brothers and sisters just got better every week and year and could easily continue to do the same please do not let it go
    you will be sorry

  17. LN says:

    Unbelievable…ABC has become the cheap station around town. With all the shows you have canceled you should be pocketing alot and leaving fans devastated! Hope your pockets are happy because the viewers you will be losing certainly are not.

  18. Starla says:

    I am so upset that Brothers and Sisters have been taken off the air. It was one of our favorits! Now I dont know what we will watch!

  19. Greg says:

    I hate this. Too often we see great shows shot down because of budgetary reasons. I know… lets put some more cheap reality television on the air!

  20. Laurie says:

    This decision is truly heartbreaking…I feel like I have lost a family. Unbelievable that ABC would cancel a family show and continue to air junk shows.

  21. Heather says:

    I’m rather pissed off right now!!

  22. Dan says:

    I guess i’ve been under a rock…didn’t even know it had been cancelled…it was a great show…well written…and challenged peoples stereotypes and other things; instead we will be subjected to more reality show GARBAGE…pretty sad statement on the state of our country and the TV biz in general; it was one of perhaps 4 or 5 shows on network television I found to actually be worth watching….well I won’t be watching any Bachelor or Bachelorette shows…GARBAGE!! why have Americans become so shallow?

  23. Dan says:

    and ps…yet these network idiots will continue to put violent crimes shows on….that just glorify violence…and wonder why America is such a violent society…just a bunch of frickin imbeciles…ABC …you should be ashamed!!

    • Malcolm says:

      Agree with you here — same crap happening down here in Australia aswell! nothin but violence and crap – not worth turning the tv on anymore

  24. Debbie says:

    I could hardly wait for summer to be over
    So I could see my favorite show. I’m really
    Bummed. Please bring the Walker family

  25. Debbie says:

    I think Dan hit it right on the money.Well
    said Dan less violence and more walkers!!!

  26. Yvette says:

    Im am shocked that this show is cancelled!! I was one of the best shows to date!!! Im sure there is going to be alot of upset viewers over this!! I found it to be the most down to earth show about real life situations in todays society… ABC you are nuts bring it back!!

  27. Ellie says:

    I can’t believe this wonderful show is cancelled and there’s so much crap that stays on TV. Yes, there was drama and controversial issues, but no violence or hatred. The overall message was family is everything – a message that people need to hear. I hope ABC changes its decisions and puts the best show on TV back on.

  28. janice says:

    best show on t.v. I just tried finding out when new season will
    start to find out it had been cancelled.
    Come on ABC, you cancel this wonderful show perfect for all ages
    and you keep the trash like the Batchelor and Batchelor Pad.
    Bring back B&S’s

  29. Cara says:

    I am so sad that it is over. I wish that somehow it would go on and on. It’s such a realistic and intriguing show. Well done to all of the cast for making it so enjoyable for fans to watch. I can’t believe that the network would not let it go on.
    The world wants Brother’s and Sister’s to go on

  30. Cheryl says:

    I just went in to see when the new seasons for B&S was to start, and was floored to see that it had been cancelled. I am not a TV person, however for the past 5 yrs, would not miss an episode. I am so disappointed. The Walkers will truly be missed. Let’s hope ABC has a change of heart or one of the other stations sees the light.

  31. Consuela Margalotti says:

    I am so sorry to see this show go. There are only a handful of shows I watch and this being one of them. I loved all the characters. Now I guess another reality show will take over. Hate them and now it is time to turn to books for the boob tube is horrible.

  32. Anna says:

    I loved that show. Even here in Norway. I felt like all the characters were so real, and played all different kind of persons, and feelings, and the story line was great, with all the different conflicts and in the end love..

    I absolutely love that that show, so its so sad that its over. I did not like the season final. It could’ve been more clear, if it was the end. I want to know what happens to sarah and Nora etc etc. and Kevin and Scotty with their little family.. So beautiful.

  33. pam says:

    I rarely watch tv – as its filled with blubbering reality shows,
    same, same same cop or medical shows, this was one my mom& I enjoyed. truly a bad call and a serious shame.

  34. gigi says:

    BRUTAL! Unbelievable – another good one bites the dust:(

  35. Janine says:

    So sad :( what am I going to do without Brothers and Sisters !!!

  36. BERNIE says:

    ABC – I can’t believe you are not going to bring this show back. I have been watching it since the beginning and have been anxiously awaiting the return…I am so incredibly upset…HOW CAN YOU CANCEL A SHOW THAT IS SO INCREDIBLE???? Listen to your viewers….BRING THE SHOW BACK!!!!!!!

  37. Barb says:

    OMG, I am so upset about B&S leaving the air. My Sunday nights will not be the same. I lived for the characters in that show and especially Sally Field’s character.

  38. Theresa says:

    Why do they get us hooked on such a great story line and then leave us hanging. The show was Great and I and so many others looked forward to Sunday evenings on ABC.

  39. Pam Wight says:

    I am sad that the show has been axed. In all honesty though?…I saw it coming, the 1st 3 years were awesome!…but the last season?…all over the place, and they dropped charactors without any real “closure”. It was becoming another weekly drama, with no storyline that carried on from one episode to the next. Too bad, it was a good show that made me want to make a point of staying home to watch it!…

  40. Nichole Burke says:

    i can’t believe the show is cancelled. Watching the Walkers was a part of my Sunday night ritual for the last 5 years. I can’t function without thzat show!!!! It needs to be put back on. They have expressed so many issues that families go through and brought me so high and so low at the same time. it just makes me want to cry. I don’t think I can deal with this. it’s terrible. Bring back Brothers & Sisters!

  41. Shea says:

    This show was full of great actors who brought the story to life. This show made me laugh,cry,and made me really think about things. I havent had a show do that in years. This was one that should have never been cancled! Shame ABC!

  42. k petroski says:

    We’re really going to miss this show. This show has been part of Sunday night TV viewing routine for 5 years. We laughed, we cried along with the Walker family who seemed a lot like ours. What a loss…

  43. Rob E. says:

    I started watching Brothers & Sisters because my wife watched it. Now that it is cancelled, I have one less reason to turn on my TV (and this show was one of the few reasons to turn it on to begin with). I am now going to delete the show out of my DVR’s timers list (unfortunately).

  44. liz says:

    I am sooo sad! I could care less about housewives ending. Brothers & sisters is one of the best shows on tv. ABC has made huge mistake. I will not be watching on Sundays!

  45. liz says:

    I will only watch General Hospital on ABC, now that they cancelled or are cancelling all the shows I cared about!!!! I didn’t even care about “housewives”. Oh, thank goodness Soap net! Now, I never have to watch ABC!!!! I LOVE BROTHERS AND SISTERS!!! ABC has dug their own grave. I know there are many more like me. ABC SUCKS!!!!

  46. E Cadotte says:

    ABC SUCKS!!!

  47. Ang says:

    I just found out that season 6 was cancelled and I am totally bummed!!! I was scrolling through my DVR trying to program it in.
    I totally think they should continue with 6!!! I feel like I was so invested in the show and was cut short :(

  48. kelly says:

    Wow really? I loved this show! Its really disapointing that it wont be coming back. All the good shows get taken away. We have to keep two and a half men without the main character on one station which is just stupid!! And then I have to loose my brothers and sisters…..got screwed on two networks…. pretty soon their will be nothing left but stupid reality shows and when that happens ill just go ahead and sell my TV

  49. Karen says:

    This was a show that provided entertainment not seen much on television today. Family drama was a welcome change to reality tv, but is it real went it comes to the bachelor or bachelorette. The whole premise to those shows I find unacceptable. I was sad to here that brothers and sisters was cancelled. I enjoyed the drama.

  50. Sabahsboy says:

    Local newspaper never revealed that Brothers and Sisters was cancelled. Seattle Times ceased publication of daily TV schedule, then weekly TV schedule, initiating a mail order TV guide schedule which does not work for my budget nor would that schedule reach me for weekly information (I collect mail at p.o. box once a week). So, I hoped ever so much that “B and S” would return. Due to President’s message to Nation, one of last B and S episodes was cancelled in May. The final episode(s) was not aired in Seattle market at all. I miss the drama, the fine writing and acting, the deeply involved characters and wonderful actors. I doubt I will find any drama to whet my appetite for such fine viewing and involvement. My hat is off to the cast and crew, director(s) and all that formed the drama and the evolution of the family during the years / seasons. I miss all of you very much!

    Of some good fortune, David Kelly does have a drama, introduced to audiences late last season (spring, 2011). At least I can enjoy fine writing and some interesting scripts, good acting and direction. Kelly produced a memorable family drama, Picket Fences, many years ago. It had a fair run and many awards before it was, abruptly, cancelled. I fear for all drama on TV, especially the major networks: economics rules and audiences are tossed to the wind! Can not Networks realize that audiences buy products that support advertisers? The economic downturn may seem an excuse to cut more costly programming, but you lose your audiences, too…and those may never return. Please note all the options TV viewers have, especially those with Netflix accounts….and streaming will soon overwhelm networks if they are so willing to comply with failure.