Exclusive: Calista Flockhart scales back 'Brothers & Sisters' workload

I bet I know what the hot topic will be at the next Walker dinner party: Where the hell is everyone?!

On the heels of news that Rob Lowe is leaving Brothers & Sisters in May, sources confirm to me exclusively that his TV spouse, Calista Flockhart, will be working a reduced schedule next season.

An ABC spokesperson declined to comment except to say that Flockhart will remain a series regular. In other words — and this is just me speculating — she’ll most likely appear in at least 13 of next season’s 22 episodes.

Meanwhile, a Brothers & Sisters insider confirms that Flockhart’s lighter workload was a contributing factor in Lowe’s decision to flee. The West Wing alum already felt his role on the show had become diminished. The prospect of his TV spouse appearing in fewer episodes would’ve only increased his sense of marginalization.

It’s all starting to make sense!

Reaction? Relieved Flockhart isn’t making a permanent exit like Lowe? And does all this bode well for MIA sib Balthazar Getty, who has made no secret of his desire to return to the show full-time? Share your thoughts in the comments!

PHOTO CREDIT: Ron Tom/ABC


Comments (159 total) Add your comment
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  • KM

    Nooo! Kitty is one of my favorite characters. Losing Rob Lowe is painful enough. I’m relieved that she’s not leaving completely, but it’s still tough.

    And I hope to goodness that they don’t bring back Tommy. I can’t stand the character or Balthazar Getty. I might even consider dropping the show if they bring him back, and cut out Kitty significantly.

    • Jenny

      I completely agree! I hate the character of Tommy. I’m not a fan of Getty either! Sad that Lowe is leaving and Flockhart is reducing her roll! I think they are my favorite couple on the show!

      • firemendate

        I like Getty

    • Chloe

      I agree!! I like both their characters.

    • C.J.

      Yup. Any equation that subtracts Kitty and Robert while adding more Tommy equals me finding something else to do at 10 on Sunday nights.

      • tvfan

        I agree, sad move for great characters.

    • Irene

      I also agree. Will miss Rob Lowe. Keep Calista and PLEASE don’t bring back Balthazar Getty. Don’t like the actor or character.

  • Chet

    I barely even notice Tommy being gone from the show so I really hope he doesn’t come back. I would miss Kitty though.

  • Dryden

    Unbelievable. Might be time to call it a wrap and cancel the series.

    • SirLizard

      Uh, yeah, like they’re going to cancel a series that still does well in the ratings a full season before it gets up to its 100th episode. Not likely. The ratings would really have to tank, and even then I think that ABC would still be willing to tinker with it a little bit to try to revive it a little.

  • Peter

    This sounds me that the McCallisters are moving to DC. It makes perfect sense for Kitty to trek back to Cali periodically while Robert stays in DC.

    • M

      I would much rather see that then another divorce story line.

      • El

        I agree. I hope that they keep the McCallisters married but living in DC for work. After all the drama they’ve gone through, they really should make it!

      • Brooke

        Me too. Agreed with this comment and the other people who have replied about not wanting a divorce or a death. That would be too predictable and it would undo all the work they’ve done as a couple thus far.

    • Rebekah

      LOVE this idea. I don’t want Robert to die or divorce Kitty. Having them move to D.C. would be a much better and realistic storyline. Here’s to hoping a B&S writer caught wind of this idea or already came up with it on their own. *crosses fingers*

    • Sue

      Moving to DC is too easy an explanation. Maybe they will do missionary work in a foreign country.

    • Em

      Great idea!

  • shaz10

    I am relieved she is staying.Kitty is not like Tommy .If she wasn’t there it wouldn’t feel like Brothers and Sisters.And she is possibly my favourite character on that show.

    • Zakry

      Sorry, you’re wrong. This is an ensemble show. Without Calista, there is still Sally Field, Rachel Griffiths, and a host of excellent albeit lesser known actors. We will “miss” Kitty (not like she’s gone forever… maybe she will tape a bunch of things in advance), but the show is not Ally Beal.

  • JonIt

    Ok, if Calista Flockhart is really going to be that reduced next season than it will be the final season of the show. It just doesn’t work without her.

  • T

    Do they know that I started watching Brothers & Sisters because of Kitty/Robert?! They have always been my favorite couple, and I think it’s awful that we won’t see any more of Rob Lowe and less of Calista Flockhart. I enjoy the rest of the cast, but Kitty and Robert together made the show for me. It looks like there will be less Brothers & Sisters in my TV viewing habits!

    • AJ

      Who is “they”? The producers or Calista Flockhart and Rob Lowe? the producers, I’m sure, don’t want this. I have no idea why Calista wants a reduced load. Considering this is an ensemble show, unlike Ally McBeal, it seems she’s already working a reduced load, though I guess weighing 90lbs gets you tired quicker. It isn’t like she’s going to have a kid with Harrison Ford!

      • Ace

        AJ — She actually adopted a year or two ago, so she does have a child with Harrison. I’ll be sad to see them go and agree that it will probably be the last season of the show since you can only widdle the family down so much before it gets unwatchable.

    • kevin

      perhaps she realizes this show is a melodramatic mess! And is sick of playing a martyring, scenery chewing and narcissistic character!

  • Rrobertt

    This will be good for the show; there are simply too many characters, at this point. Get rid of Ryan and Saul, while you’re cleaning house. And, for the love of god, start using Holly more. She was such an interesting character the first season, before they turned her into some sort of Amanda/Alexis-lite.

    • Teresa

      Seriously? Use Holly more? Use Holly less. Actually get rid of her. I can’t stand her. She’s outstayed her welcome. They won’t get rid of her because her husband produces the show. I like Saul but give him a storyline. I hope Tommy doesn’t come back though. He was a waste and didn’t really fit in. Ryan can go too! I can’t stand him. I like Kitty, especially her bond with Sarah and Kevin. Was this Calista’s idea or the producers?

    • Susan

      I agree about using Holly more. She used to be my favorite character!

    • Lyn

      Holly is at least interesting, not insipid like they’ve made Kitty. Patricia Wettig is a superb actress and one of very few on TV who actually looks her age!

  • Andrew Frye

    Kitty’s always been the main character. She was the prodigal child who returned to her family. If Calista Flockhart leaves, what the hell is the point of the show?

    • DJ

      This is an ensemble cast, so no one is the main character. But, the central character is Sally Field.

  • scott

    Can’t they just reduce her work load and still make sure she is in every episode? It seems to me that they need to introduce a great love interest for Nora that was permanent like Robs character-paging Danny Glover!Give Rachel Griffith more to do too.Then less Kitty wont be felt so much as i think appearing in just 13 eps will definitely be felt if they dont try to expand the Walkers.

  • frelling_cute

    They could always find another Walker Child to fill her place.

  • matthew c

    NOOOO! Kitty is the whole reason i watch the show! i love Flockhart! i’m not ready for the show to loose characters like this. I hate Tommy if they focus more on him i’m not going to watch at all. he’s the worst character on the show. i knew the new producers were going to ruin everything.

  • tom

    As long as they don’t mess with my Kevin and Scotty I am fine with a reduced Kitty, as long as she is still in the picture for most of the episodes. Yes, pleas expand the storylines for Kevin and Scotty.

    • Jenny

      AGREE! Kevin and Scotty are the cutest and my favorite couple by far on this show. As long as they’re around, I’m around.

    • Peter

      It has taken awhile, but I’m starting to warm up to Scotty. I’m still very partial to Reverend Boyfriend.

    • tvgirl48

      I agree. I love that we get to see more of them. Scotty is my favorite on the show. He’s a saint to be able to stand those Walkers. Although I wish they would make Kevin grow a little instead of making him an uptight selfish pain in every episode.

    • Beth

      I agree. As long as Scotty stay, I’m good.

    • Brooke

      I’ve always been pleased with the Scotty storyline, how he was a failed romance at first but then they grew as people and gave it another shot and have become just lovely together, barring Kevin’s periodic stuffy stick-in-butt moments.

    • DJ

      Amen!

    • Sue

      Give Scotty something more to do than to give his support to anything Kevin does. Kevin has become a whiny baby too. I liked him with Soap Opera star. And drop the Saul gay storyline. Unless he hooks up with a 20 something bad influence that gets him involved with drugs or gives him a STD.

  • Ryan

    I agree, this could spell the end for Bro’s & Hoes. Kitty is the central character, aside from Nora, and the second biggest star on the show. Unless they do something drastic, this formerly-great show seems to have run its course.

    • Thank Goodness!

      I’m so glad someone else calls it that, too!

      • Buzz

        I might go along with it if it didn’t also mean that some big salary dough will be floating around with CF’s departure….which means that they’ll be casting for someone ( an actress rather than an actor- or maybe both) with some star wattage to fill their spots in the B&S canvas and generate some new buzz for the show …in the effort to keep it on for another year at least..will that be their magic 5 year /100 shows syndication mark?

    • Sam

      Yes Ryan. That’s the first thought i had on reading that Calista is scaling back on her workload. Next season could be really the show’s last.

  • Alicia

    Andrew Frye – I totally agree. Seems like there was speculation once she got sick whether they would kill her off the show (or maybe it was just me & my friends talking), but I basically said the same thing. I’ve always thought of her as the main character, the prodigal child as you said. I can’t imagine the show without her, even on a reduced schedule. However, maybe this does allow for the scenario for no divorce and possibly not even killing him off. Maybe Rob Lowe would agree to appear every now and then?

    • Derek

      I like where you were going with the first part of your post. Perhaps the writers knew that Calista and Lowe wanted out, so they did the huge cancer storyline not only to convince the 2 they’d be the center of attention this season, but also just in case both characters left the show. In that way, they left a believable possibility than Kitty would die and Robert would move away unable to take the pain. I mean the guy was already seeing a pyscologist over the entire ordeal.

      That said, I fear that this may be the end of the series. Yes, they have enough developed characters to keep going, AND nora is still there (if she left, they really couldn’t continue the show) but hasn’t everyone else had enough of justin and rebecca??!?!? they get toooo much screen time as it, especially because rebecca is annoying and justin was cooler without her…or at least when they were just brother and sister, lol. So this just means more justin/becca…and more holly, yuck. And I agree with poster above, I love Saul, give me a real storyline. what the heck ever happened to his boyfriend?! we only saw the dude once, do more with that. Also, focus more on scotty/kevin without kevin being a whinny worrier all the time!…

      AND DONT bring back Tommy. Please.

      • lamont harden

        I agree with the first paragra. I could take or leave the justin and rebecca story line. They never did much with tommy and his wife. I do love holly’s story. she gets a bum rap, the barbershop boys think she is beautiful we are hoping for her in a love scene {take that youngsters}

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