Brothers & Sisters is an American dramatic television series which centers around the upper-middle class Walker family and their lives in Los Angeles, California.
It premiered on ABC on September 24, 2006 after Desperate Housewives and airs Sundays. The acting ensemble includes Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Matthew Rhys, and Rachel Griffiths. Sally Field won the 2007 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Nora Walker. Rachel Griffiths was also nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category.
On 11 February 2008 ABC announced they had picked up Brothers & Sisters for the 2008-09 television season.
The show is centered around the Walker family, an American family of Irish
heritages. Some of the family members are involved in the family owned business running Ojai Food Co, a produce distributor. Most of the action is set in the Greater Los Angeles
area. The family home is located in Pasadena, California
. The main branches of the Walker family tree included father William (deceased) (Tom Skerritt
), mother Nora
), and their five children. Nora's brother, Saul Holden
) helps run the Walker family business and is involved in most of the family's affairs.
The show's narrative launched with the death of William Walker at Kitty's birthday party. His death causes a number of secrets from his life to be revealed - secrets that impact the remainder of his family.
On the business side, Sarah, Tommy, and Saul, who are the most involved people with the family business, learn that William embezzled the company funds. The business revelation pales, however, to two major revelations on the personal front: William had a mistress, actress Holly Harper (Patricia Wettig) that he kept for decades, and the couple had a child, Rebecca (Emily VanCamp). They later find out that Rebecca was not William's biological child but that he fathered another child Ryan by a second mistress (deceased). After Tommy finds out that his dad was going to open a winery for Tommy to run, he joins Holly in opening Walker Landing Winery, and later took over Ojai foods making Holly and Tommy Co-CEO's. War veteran Justin struggled with drug addiction but eventually recovered and was deployed to Iraq, was injured and relapsed and is now beginning a relationship with non-sister Rebecca. Sarah divorces, and Kitty marries and begins the adoption process with one time Presidential hopeful and republican senator Robert McAllister (Rob Lowe). Middle brother Kevin, a lawyer, marries on and off again partner Scotty and takes over for Kitty as his brother-in-laws Director of Communications while she publishes her book.
The Walker family
Other family and friends
Recurring and former characters
- William Walker, deceased, founder and owner of Ojai Foods, was husband to Nora Walker and father to Sarah, Kitty, Tommy, Kevin, and Justin Walker, and Ryan Lafferty. The actor, Tom Skerritt has reprised his role in several flashbacks related to events after 9/11/01 and to the mother of his son, Ryan.
- Joseph "Joe" Whedon, a music teacher; ex-husband of Sarah Walker and shares two children Paige and Cooper with Sarah.
- Jason McCallister, a gay minister and brother of Robert McCallister; former boyfriend of Kevin Walker.
Notable guest stars
The series is from producer Ken Olin
) and Jon Robin Baitz
, one of Broadway
's most prominent playwrights
(The Substance of Fire
). Noted producer Greg Berlanti
was also an executive producer and "show-runner" during season one. Berlanti continues to serve on the series as executive producer. Mark B. Perry, (The Wonder Years
and One Tree Hill
) served as the showrunner for twelve episodes before departing the show in the aftermath of the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike
. The current showrunners are Monica Owusu-Breen
and Alison Schapker
After the series pilot was shot, and the show was picked up by ABC, the series underwent some moderate changes. Most notably, three of the roles were recast:
- The Walker family had originally been the March family, and the original matriarch of the show was Iva March, who'd been cast with veteran theater actress Betty Buckley. The role was ultimately renamed Nora and cast with Sally Field.
- The character of Kevin had originally been named Bryan, and had been cast with actor Jonathan LaPaglia. Like the current Kevin character, the Bryan version of the character was also gay, but had been married, and was going through a divorce. The Bryan incarnation of the character also had a child, and he and his ex-wife were going through a custody battle. Bryan's child later reappeared during the first season as the show, where he was recast as "Gabe," Joe's child from his first marriage. The show has subsequently received positive press attention for its depiction of Kevin Walker, who came to be seen as a breakthrough in the depiction of gay men on television: he has had several love interests, has kissed his boyfriends on-screen, and had a commitment ceremony with his partner Scotty in the second season finale — the first same-sex wedding ever shown on American network television between series regulars rather than minor recurring or guest characters.
- The character of Jonathan, the man with whom Kitty was involved as the show began had originally been cast with writer and actor Dan Futterman. They had previously acted alongside each other as lovers in the film The Birdcage. The role was ultimately recast with actor Matthew Settle.
The more minor role of Cooper, Sarah and Joe's younger child, was also recast after the pilot episode.
Robert McCallister was the name of a character on a previous Greg Berlanti production, Jack & Bobby, about a boy who grew up to be the President of the United States. As with Brothers & Sisters, he had a wife named Courtney and a son named Jack.
Brothers and Sisters is produced by Berlanti Television, After Portsmouth, and Touchstone Television (Fall 2006-Spring 2007), which is now ABC Studios (Fall 2007-present).
USA TV Ratings
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Brothers & Sisters on ABC:
UK TV Ratings
In the UK, the show fared well at the start for Channel 4
and started on the same viewing figures that Desperate Housewives
's third season was for the channel, with around 2.4 million. The show aired in the timeslot previously occupied by Desperate Housewives
and was promoted heavily on magazine covers. The series debuted on Channel 4
on June 20 2007
at 20:30 with an audience of 2.221m, the second episode was screened the same evening at 22:00 with an audience of 1.443m The series then settled down to a regular audience of around 600,000, quite low for a primetime show, and Channel 4
started airing the remainder of the series in double bills from September 2007.
The second season was shown on E4 starting on March 30th at 11pm, after the first run episode of Desperate Housewives. Season 2 ended on E4 in July 2008. From 11 October, 2008, Channel 4 will air Season 2 in a varying afternoon slot on Saturdays around 4.30pm.
Australian Film Institute
- Nominated - Best international Actress (Rachel Griffiths)
Casting Society of America
- Nominated - Best Dramatic Episodic Casting (Gillian O'Neill & Jeanie Bacharach)
BANFF World Television Award
- Nominated - Continuing Series (Mistakes Were Made Part 2)
- Won - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Sally Field)
- Nominated - Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series (Jeanie Bacharach & Gillian O'Neill (casting directors)
- Nominated - Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Rachel Griffiths)
- Nominated - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Sally Field)
- Nominated - Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Rachel Griffiths)
GLAAD Media Awards
- Won - Outstanding Drama Series
- Nominated - Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series Drama (Sally Field)
- Nominated - Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Rachel Griffiths)
People's Choice Awards
- Nominated - Favorite New TV Drama
- Nominated - Best Actress in a Drama Series (Sally Field)
- Nominated - Best Actress in a Series, Drama (Sally Field)
- Nominated - Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Rachel Griffiths)
- Nominated - Best Television Series, Drama
Young Artist Awards
- Nominated - Best Family Television Series (Drama)