The Brady Bunch is an ABC network sitcom created by Sherwood Schwartz.
The series premiered on September 26, 1969 and ended on March 8, 1974 after five seasons and 117 episodes.
Even though it never achieved high ratings during its run on primetime, the show has become quite popular after it started airing in syndication.
The show's success on syndication led to several reunion films & spin-off series such as "The Brady Kids" cartoon, "The Brady Bunch Hour", "The Brady Brides", "A Very Brady Christmas" and "The Bradys."
In 1995, the series was adapted into a satirical comedy theatrical film titled "The Brady Bunch Movie" which was then followed by "A Very Brady Sequel" in 1996. A second sequel "The Brady Bunch" in the White House, aired on the Fox network in November of 2002 as a made-for-TV movie.
The show was about widowed architect Mike (who has three sons: Greg, Peter & Bobby) marrying a single mother, Carol (who has three daughters: Marcia, Jan & Cindy), becoming a blended family.
- Robert Reed as Mike Brady
- Florence Henderson as Carol Brady
- Maureen McCormick as Marcia Brady
- Barry Williams as Greg Brady
- Eve Plumb as Jan Brady
- Christopher Knight as Peter Brady
- Susan Olsen as Cindy Brady
- Mike Lookinland as Bobby Brady
- Ann B. Davis as Alice Nelson
In 1966, following the success of his TV series, "Gilligan's Island", Sherwood Schwartz conceived the idea for "The Brady Bunch" after reading in The Los Angeles Times that "30% of marriages [in the United States] have a child or children from a previous marriage."
He set to work on a pilot script for a series tentatively titled, "Mine and Yours" and then developed the script to include three children for each parent.
While Mike Brady is depicted as being a widower, Schwartz originally wanted the character of Carol Brady to have been a divorcée, but the network objected to this. A compromise was reached whereby Carol's marital status (whether she was divorced or widowed) was never directly revealed.
Schwartz shopped the series to the "big three" television networks of the era. ABC, CBS, and NBC all liked the script, but each network wanted changes before they would commit to filming, so Schwartz shelved the project.
Although similarities exist between the series and two 1968 theatrical release films, United Artists' "Yours, Mine and Ours" (starring Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball) and CBS's "With Six You Get Eggroll" (starring Brian Keith and Doris Day), the original script for The Brady Bunch predated the scripts for both of these films.
Nonetheless, the outstanding success of "Yours, Mine and Ours "(which was the 11th-highest-grossing film of 1968) was a factor in ABC's decision to order episodes for the series.
After receiving a commitment for 13 weeks of television shows from ABC in 1968, Schwartz hired film and television director John Rich to direct the pilot, cast the six children from 264 interviews during that summer, and hired the actors to play the mother role, the father role, and the housekeeper role.
As the sets were built on Paramount Television stage 5, adjacent to the stage where H.R. Pufnstuf was filmed by Sid and Marty Krofft (who later produced "The Brady Bunch Hour") the production crew prepared the back yard of a home in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, as the exterior location for the chaotic backyard wedding scene.
Filming of the pilot began on Friday, October 4, 1968, and lasted for eight days.
When Sherwood Schwartz pitched the pilot episode, "The Honeymoon", to NBC, they thought that the story of the parents taking their blended family along on their honeymoon was an unbelievable storyline & offered to do the pilot if he changed the ending.
ABC liked the pilot so much, they wanted to stretch the story to be a television movie, ninety minutes long, but Sherwood balked at the idea and was certain that such a pilot would be so dull, the series would not get picked up (but it eventually did).
Due to its marginal ratings (only reaching #34 in the Nielsen Ratings at its peak), "The Brady Bunch" was never renewed for a whole season until its last season on the air (1973-74).
During the show's first four seasons, it was only renewed for 13 episodes at a time. Several members of the cast admitted that when they finished filming 13 episodes, there was always an air of apprehension while they waited to see if ABC would renew the program or not. Due to its popularity among children, "The Brady Bunch" remained on the air.