Eight Is Enough

Eight Is Enough Information

Eight Is Enough is an American television comedy-drama series which ran on ABC from March 15, 1977 until August 29, 1981. The show was modeled after syndicated newspaper columnist Thomas Braden, a real-life parent with eight children, who wrote a book with the same name.


The show is centered around a Sacramento, California family with eight children (from oldest to youngest: David, Mary, Joanie, Susan, Nancy, Elizabeth, Tommy, and Nicholas). The father, Tom Bradford (Dick Van Patten), was a newspaper columnist for the fictional Sacramento Register. His wife Joan (Diana Hyland) took care of the children. Hyland was only in four episodes before falling ill; she was written out for the remainder of the first season and died twelve days after the first episode aired.

The second season began in the fall of 1977 with the revelation that Tom had become a widower. Tom fell in love with Sandra Sue "Abby" Abbott (Betty Buckley), a schoolteacher who came to the house to tutor Tommy who had broken his leg in a football game. They were married in one of the series' TV movie broadcasts on 9 November 1977. The role went to Buckley after being approved by network chief Brandon Tartikoff, who felt the character of the sympathetic teacher she had played in the 1976 film Carrie would also be great for the series. In another TV movie event in September 1979, David and Susan were both married in a double wedding. As the series progressed, Abby got her Ph.D. in education and started a job counseling students at the local high school, oldest sister Mary became a doctor, while second-youngest son Tommy became a singer in a rock-and-roll band.


Main cast members

  • Dick Van Patten " Tom Bradford
  • Diana Hyland " Joan Wells Bradford (season 1)
  • Betty Buckley " Sandra Sue "Abby" Abbott Bradford (seasons 2"5)
  • Grant Goodeve " David Bradford (24 years old at start of series)
  • Lani O'Grady " Mary Bradford (22)
  • Laurie Walters " Joanie Bradford (30)
  • Susan Richardson " Susan Bradford (25); later Susan (Bradford) Stockwell
  • Dianne Kay " Nancy Bradford (22)
  • Connie Needham " Elizabeth Bradford (18) (originally credited as Connie Newton before she married)
  • Willie Aames " Tommy Bradford (16)
  • Adam Rich " Nicholas Bradford (8)
In the pilot, the role of David was played by Mark Hamill, Nancy was played by Kimberly Beck, and Tommy played by Chris English.

Recurring cast members

  • Brian Patrick Clarke " Merle "The Pearl" Stockwell (1979"1981)
  • Jennifer Darling " Donna (1977"1981)
  • Janis Paige " Vivian "Auntie V" Bradford (1977"1980)
  • Michael Goodrow " Ernie Fields (1979"1981)
  • James Karen " Eliot Randolph
  • Ralph Macchio " Jeremy Andretti (1980"1981)
  • Joan Prather " Janet McArthur Bradford (1977"1981)
  • Michael Thoma " Dr. Greg Maxwell (1977"1981)
  • Virginia Vincent - Daisy Maxwell (1977-1981)


The show was Developed by writer William Blinn and was A Lorimar Production. It was originally distributed by Worldvision Enterprises. For the first two years the show filmed interior scenes at The Burbank Studios now known as the Warner Bros. Ranch. From the third season the show filmed interiors at MGM Studios across town in Culver City. The show's team of producers included Robert L. Jacks, Gary Adelson, Greg Strangis and Phil Fehrle. Executive Producers were Lee Rich and Philip Capice.

As a production of the Lorimar stable, who were concurrently producing CBS' The Waltons, writers were often contracted by the producers and were shared between both programs. (Waltons costar Will Geer also made an Eight is Enough guest appearance during season 2.) Regular writers included Peter Lefcourt, the writing teams of Gwen Bagni and Paul Dubov, Rod Peterson and Claire Whittaker, Bill Nuus and Dusty Kay, Nick Thiel and David Braff, J. Miyoko Hensley and Steven Hensley, Bruce Shelly, Sandra Kay Siegel, Gil Grant, Karen I. Hall and Hindi Brooks who soon became the show's long-time story editor. In-house directors included Philip Leacock, Harry Harris and Irving J. Moore. As in in-joke, the character name of one of Nicholas Bradford's best friends was Irving Julius Moore, a nod to the director of the same name whose middle name was in fact Joseph.

Reception and cancellation

The series jump-started acting careers for only a few of those playing the children. It cemented teen idol status for Grant Goodeve (David), Willie Aames (Tommy), and Ralph Macchio, who played Abby's orphaned nephew Jeremy later in the show's last season. Aames would go on to star with Scott Baio in Charles in Charge. Goodeve started a minor singing career, following his rendition of the show's theme song (see "Theme music") and initially hosted HGTV's If Walls Could Talk. Macchio would gain the most fame in feature films such as The Karate Kid and its sequels, as well as My Cousin Vinny.

After the end of the show's fifth season (and 111 hour episodes), production costs and declining ratings caused the show to be canceled, along with seven other shows that season. Variety's headline on the cancellation stated, "Eight Shows In, Eight Shows Out".

The series had two reunion movies on NBC. In An Eight Is Enough Reunion on October 18, 1987, Mary Frann replaced Betty Buckley as Abby; Buckley had been filming Frantic during its production. This was followed by An Eight Is Enough Wedding on October 22, 1989, this time with Sandy Faison as Abby. By coincidence, both movies aired opposite game two of the World Series on ABC.

Theme music

For the show's first two seasons, an upbeat instrumental piece written by Fred Werner was used as the show's opening theme. Beginning with the show's third season, this was replaced by a slowed-down vocal theme titled "Eight Is Enough", which was sung by series co-star Grant Goodeve. The song had music and lyrics by Lee Holdridge and Molly-Ann Leikin, and was first heard in a longer arrangement on the last episode of the second season titled 'Who's on First?', which was also performed by Goodeve. From season three onwards, an instrumental version of the song played over the show's closing credits.

Music score

Early episodes had instrumental music by Fred Werner and the prolific Alexander Courage, but the show's real musical stamp came from veteran composer Earle Hagen who had a knack of composing memorable cues as he had previously been the in-house composer on The Andy Griffith Show. He composed a beautiful love theme for Tom and Abby, which permeated the show in various incarnations throughout the remainder of the series. Some later episodes were scored by John Beal and Miles Goodman.

In 1980 there was a writer's strike in Hollywood, and one of the off-shoots of this industry problem was making cost cutting measures in the music department on the show. Some of the later episodes were tracked with a combination of uncredited library music and with some original music by those of the aforementioned Messrs. Hagen, Beal and Goodman.

Episode list

Season 1 (1977)

  • Never Try Eating Nectarines Since Juice May Dispense (aka. Eight Is Not Enough)
Tom has to find money to pay for a lawyer when his troubled daughter is arrested

  • Schussboomer
Matilda, Mary's heavily pregnant friend comes to stay at the Bradfords' and begins irritating the family.

  • Pieces of Eight
Tom becomes editor of his own newspaper but struggles to handle family and work at the same time.

  • Women, Ducks and the Domino Theory
Joan bonds with Tommy. Tom struggles to deal with Elizabeth's bad ways.

  • Turnabout
The Bradfords throw a party. David comes to the aid of an old lady.

  • Quarantine
David finds himself caring for the whole family when they all get sick.

  • V is for Vivian
Tom's sister Vivian causes chaos amongst the Bradford children.

  • Hit and Run
An estate developer threatens to send Tom to court after writing a bad story about him.

  • The Gipper Caper
The Bradfords enter a football game against another family.

Season 2 (1977"1978)

  • Is There a Doctor in the House?
Dr. Maxwell moves in with the Bradfords but his habits drive the family crazy.

  • Trial Marriage
Sandra Abbot talks her way into the Bradford household when Tommy's football game turns nasty.

  • Triangles
Tom is determined to spend some time with his children, driving them to desperate measures.

  • Double Trouble
When Tom and Abby break up, the kids set about finding Tom a new woman.

  • Mortgage Burnin' Blues
A party at the Bradfords' spirals out of control.

  • Dark Horse
Tom's plans to propose are ruined by the kids.

  • The Bard and the Bod
Abby's father arrives and Tom is determined to prove himself to his future father-in-law.

  • Children of the Groom - Part I
The Bradford children are given the job of organizing Tom and Abby's wedding.

  • Children of the Groom - Part II
The children's plans for the wedding threaten to end the wedding altogether.

  • I Quit
Tom and Abby decide to take the kids on their honeymoon, a decision they will later regret.

  • All's Fair in Love and War
Abby's plans for the Bradford choir are causing chaos between the kids.

  • The Return of Auntie V
Vera Bradford returns and makes an announcement that will change the family forever.

  • Yes Nicholas, there is a Santa Claus - Part I
Tom is determined to make the first Christmas without Joan the best yet.

  • Yes Nicholas, there is a Santa Claus - Part II
The Bradfords celebrate Christmas in true style.

  • A Hair of the Dog
It's Tom's birthday and the kids plan a surprise party for him.

  • Author! Author!
Abby encourages Tom to leave his job and follow his dreams.

  • Much Ado about Garbage
Tom finds himself under arrest. Abby struggles to hold the family together.

  • Dear Ms. Dinah
Tom and Abby both find themselves working away leaving the kids in the hands of Sandra.

  • Hard Hats and Hard Heads
David catches up with some old friends.

  • Seven Days in February
The Bradford girls all find love much to the dismay of Tom.

  • The Boyfriend
Susan's new boyfriend takes a shine to Abby.

  • Great Expectations
Tom vows to help Tommy pass his exams.

  • Long Night's Journey into Day
Abby falls off a ladder and uncovers some secrets from the past.

  • The Lost Weekend
Tom and Abby go off to Abby's parents, leaving the kids home alone.

  • Poor Little Rich Girl
David's new girlfriend turns out to be a millionaire's daughter.

  • Who's on First?
Joanie is put in charge of a talent show. Viewers are introduced to David's full length version of the Season 3 theme song.

Season 3 (1978"1979)

  • Who's Crazy Here?
  • Nine Is Too Much
  • Here We Go Again
  • Cinderella's Understudy
  • Milk and Sympathy
  • The Flunked and the Funked
  • Cops and Toddlers
  • The Hipbone's Connected to the Thighbone
  • Fast and Loose
  • War Between the Bradfords
  • All The Vice President's Men
  • You Won't Have Nicholas to Kick Around Anymore - Part I
  • You Won't Have Nicholas to Kick Around Anymore - Part II
  • Alone At Last
  • The Yearning Point
  • Moving Out
  • Mother's Rule
  • Inlaws and Outlaws
  • Horror Story
  • Just The Ten of Us
  • Best of Friends
  • The Kid Who Came to Dinner
  • The Better Part of Valor
  • Dads, Daughters, Different Drummers
  • The Final Days
  • The Graduates
  • Marriage and Other Flights of Fancy - Part I
  • Marriage and Other Flights of Fancy - Part II

Season 4 (1979"1980)

  • Merle the Pearl
  • The Cupid Crisis
  • I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
  • Ten Ships in the Night
  • The Devil and Mr. Bradford
  • The Night They Raided Bradfords
  • Big Shoes, Little Feet
  • Fathers and Other Strangers - Part I
  • Fathers and Other Strangers - Part II
  • Letter to One Bradford
  • Separate Ways
  • Arrivals
  • Brotherhood, Sisterhood
  • Mary, He's Married
  • My Son, The Prom Queen
  • The Courage to Be
  • Semi-Centennial Bradford
  • The Commitment
  • Seven More Days in February
  • The Return of Joe Simons
  • Bradford vs. Bradford
  • Memories
  • Official Positions
  • A Matter of Mentors
  • Roll Over Bradford
  • A Little Triangle
  • Grad Night

Season 5 (1980"1981)

  • And Baby Makes Nine - (90 minute season premiere/ also available as Part 1 and Part II)
  • Jeremy
  • Welcome to Memorial Dr. Bradford
  • Generations
  • Holly
  • The Maltese Airline Bag
  • Strike
  • Bradfordgate
  • Darlene Dilemma
  • Second Thoughts
  • David's Rib
  • Vows
  • The Way We Were
  • If The Glass Slipper Fits
  • The Best Little Telethon in Sacramento
  • Yet Another Seven Days in February
  • Idolbreaker (1)
  • Idolbreaker (2)
  • Starting Over
  • Goals
  • Father Knows Best?


  • TV Movie Eight Is Enough: A Family Reunion (1987)
  • TV Movie An Eight Is Enough Wedding (1989)


Episodes aired on FX when the network began in 1994 but haven't been on cable since, except for a 50th Anniversary Warner Bros. marathon on TV Land in 2005. The show also aired on PAX when that network began in 1998. It currently runs on WMEU-CA a low power in Chicago, which also airs on WCIU-TV subchannel 26.3.

During its network run the show was distributed by Worldvision Enterprises (also internationally in rebroadcasts) and later by Lorimar Telepictures. All syndication rights are now held by Warner Bros. Television.

DVD releases

On April 17, 2012, Warner Home Video released the complete first season of Eight Is Enough on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time. The release includes the pilot episode (featuring Mark Hamill in the role of eldest son David) and a cast reunion special. The pilot originally aired as a 90 minute special (74 mins. sans commercials), but the version on the DVD is the more common rerun version, edited for one-hour showing (49 minutes). Several of the episodes have the wrong end credits, and the Lorimar Productions logo has also been edited out of the end credits.

On November 13, 2012, Warner Bros. released Season 2, Parts one and two on DVD via their Warner Archive Collection. These are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases and are available through Warner's online store and Amazon.com.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season 9 April 17, 2012
The Complete Second Season, Part 1 14 November 13, 2012
The Complete Second Season, Part 2 12 November 13, 2012

Nielsen ratings

Eight Is Enough

Season Ratings Rank
1977 #23
1977"1978 #12
1978"1979 #17
1979"1980 #12
1980"1981 #18


In Italy, RAI public networks aired the first season of Eight Is Enough under the title Otto Bastano in 1978, the literal Italian translation of the original title. The remaining seasons were aired in the 1980s on Retequattro, a commercial network from Fininvest (now Mediaset), under the title La Famiglia Bradford. The Italian version excludes the laugh track.

The French version, "Huit, ça suffit!" was a big success in the 1980s both in France and Quebec (Canada), and among all Francophone (French-speaking) Canadians.

In Spain, Eight Is Enough was aired also in the 1980s. RTVE (public network) aired all the seasons under the title Con Ocho Basta (the Spanish translation) in Friday's evening time.

In the Philippines, Eight Is Enough aired on GMA 7 from 1978-1981.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Eight_Is_Enough" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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