Brothers & Sisters Downsizes As End Looms

The cast of Brothers & Sisters returns to work in mid-July, with a few jarring changes besides the absence of Rob Lowe, whose character was killed off in the season finale's tragic multi-car pile-up that also left Patricia Wettig's character, Holly, hanging on by a limb. (Calls to Patricia's reps inquiring about her fate have not been returned.) But the biggest question involves ABC's downsized order of 18 episodes - shorter than a series' typical 22-episode order. Are the Walkers about to have their final group hug? Series star Rachel Griffiths, who plays eldest daughter Sarah, isn't exactly sure herself, telling me, "In my negotiation, I asked, 'does 18 mean it's the last season?' I would love to know. I feel like this is the last season, but I don't know for sure."

The show's cinematographer, Cynthia Pusheck, seems more certain that the eighteenth hour will indeed be the final chapter. "I think it's been a nice run, and it will be good for us to know we can wrap up everyone's stories," she says, adding that the look of the show will also change - much to her disappointment. Ironically, Pushek was on hand at the event to accept The Kodak Vision Award for her work on the show, which will stop utilizing film when production resumes. "We're going to be switching to Digital as a cost-cutting measure. We hope to have the same show, but there will be some changes visually."

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