1 9 7 6 – 1 9 7 7 (USA)
9 x 60 minute episodes
Eager to capitalise on the success of The Brady Bunch, ABC decided to give the cast its own variety show, involving a multitude of song-and-dance routines and a show-within-a-show storyline.
The nine-episode series followed the family patriarch Mike Brady (Robert Reed) as he gave up his career as an architect and moved the family to Southern California to pursue show business.
Eve Plumb (Jan Brady) agreed to do the Pilot plus five episodes of the show, but the network insisted on a 13-episode contract with a 5-year option. Eve’s father wanted her to have only limited involvement.
Over 1,500 girls were auditioned to replace Plumb as Jan. The two finalists were Kathy Hilton (mother of Paris Hilton) and Geri Reischl, who won the part.
The show was notoriously terrible and even its own stars look back on it with embarrassment. “The Brady Bunch Hour was incredibly bad,” Barry Williams (Greg Brady) wrote in his memoir Growing Up Brady.
Ironically, the only star who did enjoy the variety hour format was Reed, whose dissatisfaction with most other Brady Bunch incarnations has become legendary.
“We joked that it was the first time any of us could remember him wanting to do something Brady-related,” Maureen McCormick (Marcia) joked of his unexpected enthusiasm for the production.
Guest stars included Tony Randall, Lee Majors, Farrah Fawcett, Milton Berle, Vincent Price, Rich Little, Paul Williams and Charo.
Ann B. Davis