Few writers in the television world have endured as topsy-turvy a career as Jon Robin Baitz. An acclaimed playwright, Baitz entered the 2006 television season with one of the most anticipated shows of the year in ABC's "Brothers & Sisters," a family drama tinged with politics and social issues.
Although the show drew mostly rave reviews, things spiraled downhill quickly, as Baitz and executives couldn't see eye to eye on the series' direction. (Among other things, Baitz wanted a far darker and more dramatic tone than the brass at the network did.) At the end of the season, Baitz was removed from day-to-day duties, prompting a vocal protest on his part, not to mention on the part of many fans. (The show continued for an additional four seasons.)
In advance of the opening of his Broadway play "Other Desert Cities" -- which, like "Brothers & Sisters," is also a politically tinged family drama and also stars Rachel Griffiths -- Baitz opened up to the Los Angeles Times about his rocky tenure on the show. Among the things he told us: The confrontation drove him to write the play, while also driving him into a deep depression about the state of network television.
On Thursday morning at 10, you'll get a chance to hear Baitz's take on the perils of working for the small screen (and whether he'd ever come back to it) when we host a live chat with him on our sister Culture Monster blog. (You can join the chat here.) Baitz is never one for holding his tongue -- he's already told us that he feels the Emmys robbed the cast of the show in its five seasons on the air -- which means the chat is sure to be a lively one. Please join us then.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: The cast of "Brothers & Sisters." Credit: ABC