September 10, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

Brothers & Sisters

TV Show
Current Status
In Season

Nearly everything about the drama’s fifth season will feel smaller. The episode count is down from 22 to 18. The cast has been cut by three (besides Rob Lowe, Balthazar Getty’s out, and, after three shows, so is Emily VanCamp). Even the plot arcs are shrinking. ”We’re [doing] more self-contained episodes,” says exec producer David Marshall Grant. ”We got a little [too] serialized last season.” The action picks up a year after May’s car-crash cliff-hanger, as widow Kitty (Calista Flockhart) mulls a new career and a new man (Army Wives‘ Jeremy Davidson); Sarah (Rachel Griffiths) copes with boyfriend Luc’s (Gilles Marini, now a series regular) new job as an underwear model; Kevin (Matthew Rhys) and Scotty (Luke Macfarlane) take in a wayward teen; and Justin (Dave Annable) returns from Afghanistan a whole lot kinder and gentler. As for the Walker matriarch (Sally Field), she’ll land her own radio show called Ask Mom — and a man. ”Nora’s always been ambivalent about relationships,” says Grant. ”But she’s going to realize having intimacy in her life is something she wants.” SEPT. 26

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