Eight Is Enough

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Eight Is Enough
Eight is Enough.png
GenreComedy drama
Based onthe book Eight is Enough
by Tom Braden
Developed byWilliam Blinn
StarringDick Van Patten
Diana Hyland
Betty Buckley
Grant Goodeve
Lani O'Grady
Laurie Walters
Susan Richardson
Dianne Kay
Connie Newton
Willie Aames
Adam Rich
Theme music composerFred Werner (Season 1 & 2 opening theme)
Song: from Season 3 onwards – "Eight Is Enough" Music by Lee Holdridge
Lyrics by Molly-Ann Leikin
ComposersJohn Beal
Alexander Courage
Earle Hagen
Miles Goodman
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes112
Executive producersPhilip Capice
Lee Rich
ProducersRobert L. Jacks
Gary Adelson
Greg Strangis
Phil Fehrle
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time50 minutes
Production companyLorimar Productions
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Original networkABC
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseMarch 15, 1977 (1977-03-15) –
May 23, 1981 (1981-05-23)
Followed byEight Is Enough: A Family Reunion (1987) and Eight Is Enough: A Wedding (1989)

Eight Is Enough is an American television comedy-drama series that ran on ABC from March 15, 1977, until May 23, 1981. The show was modeled on the life of syndicated newspaper columnist Tom Braden, a real-life parent with eight children, who wrote a book by the same title.


The show centers on a Sacramento, California, family with eight children (from oldest to youngest: David, Mary, Joanie, Susan, Nancy, Elizabeth, Tommy, and Nicholas). The father, Tom Bradford (based on Tom Braden, played by Dick Van Patten), was a newspaper columnist for the fictional Sacramento Register. His wife Joan (based on Joan Braden, played by Diana Hyland) was a homemaker and took care of the children.

In early 1977, Hyland was diagnosed with breast cancer, undergoing a mastectomy when doctors discovered the cancer had metastasized. During filming her health suddenly deteriorated, and Hyland died on March 27, 1977, having filmed four episodes. As a result, Her character's death was written into the second season of the series.

The second season began in the fall of 1977 with Tom as a widower. He eventually met and fell in love with Sandra Sue "Abby" Abbott (Betty Buckley), a widowed schoolteacher who came to the house to tutor Tommy when he broke his leg in a football game. They were married in one of the series' TV movie broadcasts on November 9, 1977. The role went to Buckley after being approved by network chief Brandon Tartikoff, who felt that the character of Miss Collins, the sympathetic high school gym teacher she had played in the 1976 film Carrie, would translate seamlessly to the series.[1]

In the fourth season, in another of the series' TV movie broadcasts in September 1979, both David and Susan were 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 daughter Mary became a medical doctor, and second-youngest son Tommy became a singer in a rock-and-roll band.

Cast and characters[edit]


In the pilot, the role of David was played by Mark Hamill, Nancy was played by Kimberly Beck, and Tommy was played by Chris English. When ABC screened the pilot, they were unhappy with the performances of Beck and English, who were let go and replaced respectively by Dianne Kay and Willie Aames. Hamill sought to get out of his 5-year contract on Eight Is Enough to take the opportunity to star in George Lucas' Star Wars; Lorimar Productions granted his request and the role was re-cast with Grant Goodeve.[2]

The cast of Eight Is Enough (seasons 2–5)
Top row (left to right):
Kay, Van Patten, Goodeve, and Walters.
Middle row: Richardson, Newton, and Buckley.
Bottom row: Rich, O'Grady, and Aames



The show was developed by writer William Blinn and was a Lorimar Production. It was originally distributed by Worldvision Enterprises. For the first three years the show filmed interior scenes at The Burbank Studios now known as the Warner Bros. Ranch. From the fourth season the show filmed interiors at MGM Studios in Culver City.

The home featured in the exterior shots was on Chiquita St, near Lankershim Boulevard in Los Angeles. The house has since been demolished and replaced. The interiors for seasons one through three were filmed on Soundstage 9 The Burbank Studio. Seasons four and five were shot on two stages at MGM 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's 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 Nuss 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 an 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.



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 by Lee Holdridge and lyrics by 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.


Early episodes had instrumental music by Fred Werner and Alexander Courage, but the show's real musical stamp came from 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 love theme for Tom and Abby, a theme that permeated the show in various incarnations throughout the remainder of the series. Some later episodes were scored by John Beal and Miles Goodman.

Back-to-back industry strikes in the show's last seasons affected the show's score, with both the 1980 SAG actors' strike and 1981 writers' strike forcing cost-cutting measures. Some of the later episodes were tracked with a combination of uncredited library music and original music by Hagen, Beal, and Goodman.

Reception and cancellation[edit]

The series jump-started acting careers for several of its young stars. 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 (112 one-hour episodes), production costs and declining ratings caused the show to be cancelled, along with seven other shows that season (including The Waltons). Variety's headline on the cancellation stated, "Eight Shows In, Eight Shows Out". In a 2000 episode of E! True Hollywood Story, Dick Van Patten stated that no one contacted him to inform him of the cancellation. Instead, he read about it in a newspaper.[3]

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 15, 1989, this time with Sandy Faison as Abby. Both movies aired opposite Game 2 of the World Series on ABC.

Nielsen Ratings[edit]

  • 1976–1977 — #23
  • 1977–1978 — #12
  • 1978–1979 — #11
  • 1979–1980 — #12
  • 1980–1981 — Not in Top 30

Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
19March 15, 1977 (1977-03-15)August 10, 1977 (1977-08-10)
226September 14, 1977 (1977-09-14)May 10, 1978 (1978-05-10)
327September 6, 1978 (1978-09-06)May 23, 1979 (1979-05-23)
428September 5, 1979 (1979-09-05)April 30, 1980 (1980-04-30)
522October 29, 1980 (1980-10-29)May 23, 1981 (1981-05-23)


Season 1 (1977)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Never Try Eating Nectarines Since Juice May Dispense"E.W. SwackhamerWilliam BlinnMarch 15, 1977 (1977-03-15)[4]
Pilot episode: After 15-year-old Elizabeth is arrested for the possession of narcotics, Tom and Joan Bradford are faced with the dual problems of raising money for her defense and trying to understand why 21-year-old David Bradford moved away from home after objecting to the way they handled the drug bust.
Note: In the Pilot, David was played by Mark Hamill, Nancy was played by Kimberly Beck, and Tommy played by Chris English. When ABC picked up the show, they were recast respectively with Grant Goodeve, Dianne Kay, and Willie Aames.
22"Schussboomer"David MoessingerNorman LessingMarch 22, 1977 (1977-03-22)
Tom and Joan are reluctant to let Susan go away for an unchaperoned ski weekend.
33"Pieces of Eight"Reza BadiyiGreg StrangisMarch 29, 1977 (1977-03-29)[5]
Tom is forced to face a newspaper strike, a wife who wants a job, and a daughter who wants to become a model.
44"Women, Ducks, and the Domino Theory"Vincent McEveetyPeter LefcourtApril 5, 1977 (1977-04-05)[6]
Tommy falls in love for the first time and learns life's most difficult lesson.
Notes: Main cast member Diana Hyland does not appear in this episode. Charlene Tilton (as Wendy Spring) guest stars.
55"Turnabout"Harvey S. LaidmanKatharyn PowersApril 12, 1977 (1977-04-12)[8]
David's romance with an older woman becomes a topic for argument.
Notes: 1) Adrienne Barbeau (as Jennifer Linden) special guest stars. 2) Fourth and final appearance of main cast member Diana Hyland, who died March 27, 1977. 3) Originally scheduled for March 29, 1977, two days after Hyland's death.[7]
66"Quarantine"Harry HarrisGwen Bagni & Paul DubovApril 19, 1977 (1977-04-19)[9]
When Mary's new boyfriend is hospitalized with an exotic illness, the Bradford family and a visitor are questioned by the health department.
77"V Is for Vivian"Harry HarrisRod Peterson & Claire WhitakerApril 26, 1977 (1977-04-26)[10]
Tom's swinging sister visits and the family is impressed.
Note: Janis Paige (as auntie V) guest stars.
88"Hit and Run"Ralph SenenskyC. Robert Brooks and Robert L. McCulloughMay 3, 1977 (1977-05-03)[11]
Tom finds that Joanie has been blackmailed into asking for a retraction in his newspaper column after she crumples the fender on a classic sports car.
Notes: Peter Coffield and Molly Dodd guest-star.
99"The Gipper Caper"William F. ClaxtonWilliam BlinnAugust 10, 1977 (1977-08-10)[14]

Filming date: February 23 – March 4, 1977[12][13]
A football game becomes a blood-and-guts event.
Note: This episode's working title was "What Hath Roone Arledge Wrought?"

This was held back by ABC until the show moved to Wednesday nights, after a 13-week hiatus.

Season 2 (1977–78)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
101"Is There a Doctor in the House?"Harry HarrisTeleplay by : Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov
Story by : Gwen Bagni & Paul Dubov & John Kubichan
September 14, 1977 (1977-09-14)[15]188367
The widowed Tom and the temporary single Doctor Maxwell try their luck as middle-aged swinging singles.
112"Trial Marriage"Philip LeacockLeonard Stadd & Toni Van HorneSeptember 21, 1977 (1977-09-21)188366
Tom disapproves when Mary moves in with her boyfriend. Enter a teacher named Sandra Sue "Abby" Abbott to sort all this out while tutoring Tommy.
Note: Don Johnson (as Doug, Mary's boyfriend) guest stars. Betty Buckley (as Sandra Sue "Abby" Abbott) first appearance.
123"Triangles"Philip LeacockBruce ShellySeptember 28, 1977 (1977-09-28)188368
David's roommate dates both Joanie and Susan.
Note: John Shea (as Jonathan Moracci, David's roommate) guest stars.
134"Double Trouble"Harry HarrisJoyce PerryOctober 5, 1977 (1977-10-05)188379
Problems develop when Tom and Abby break up and he begins dating divorcee Ellen Manning.
145"Mortgage Burnin' Blues"William WiardParke PerineOctober 19, 1977 (1977-10-19)188372
A party at the Bradfords' spirals out of control.
156"Dark Horse"Harry HarrisBill Nuss & Dusty KayOctober 26, 1977 (1977-10-26)188369
Tom and Abby decide to get married after having put aside their own problems to help Mary run for the board of education.
167"The Bard and the Bod"Irving J. MooreMichael WeinbergerNovember 2, 1977 (1977-11-02)188373
Joanie is all excited about winning the lead in a Shakesperean production, but Tom is not.
"Children of the Groom"Philip LeacockHindi BrooksNovember 9, 1977 (1977-11-09)[16]188377A-188377B
Tom and Abby decide to marry despite complications caused by his children.
Note: Louise Latham (as Katherine Mitchell, Abby’s mother), Dennis Patrick (as Harry Mitchell, Abby’s father) and Sylvia Sidney (as Evelin, Abby’s aunt) guest stars
Note: This was a special 2-hour episode; syndicated versions of this episode split it into two hour-long parts, cutting some scenes out.
1910"I Quit"David SwiftGreg StrangisNovember 16, 1977 (1977-11-16)[17]188382
Tom Bradford "resigns" as father when the kids accuse him of being a dictator.
2011"All's Fair in Love and War"David SwiftTeleplay by: Marion Hargrove
Story by: Matt Robinson
November 23, 1977 (1977-11-23)188370
Tom's liberal attitudes are put to the test when Mary dates the black son of his old Navy friend.
Note: Dorian Harewood (as Colonel Richard Connelly) guest stars.
2112"The Return of Auntie V"Ray MarshRod Peterson & Claire WhitakerNovember 30, 1977 (1977-11-30)188381
Tom's flamboyant sister gives the newlyweds the down-payment on a new mansion.
Note: Janis Paige (as Aunt Vivian) guest stars.
"Yes, Nicholas, There is a Santa Claus"Harry HarrisHindi BrooksDecember 14, 1977 (1977-12-14)188374-A/B
A present Joan hid before her death restores the Bradfords' spirit after a Christmas burglar steals their gifts.
Note: This was a special 2-hour episode; syndicated versions of this episode split it into two hour-long parts, cutting some scenes out. Will Geer and Judy Strangis guest-star.
2415"A Hair of the Dog"Alf KjellinPeter LefcourtJanuary 4, 1978 (1978-01-04)188383
On Tom's birthday, he and Tommy have a man-to-man talk.
2516"Author! Author!"Irving J. MooreDavid Hurwitz & Larry ArnsteinJanuary 11, 1978 (1978-01-11)188384
Tom receives unexpected resistance from his family when he decides to write a novel.
2617"Much Ado About Garbage"Harvey S. LaidmanTeleplay by: Greg Strangis & Peter Lefcourt
Story by: Parke Perine & Robert Holt
January 18, 1978 (1978-01-18)[18]188389
Tom has been suspended from his job without pay after accusing the city officials and garbage company of corruption and refusing to reveal his sources to a grand jury.
2718"Dear Miss Dinah"Irving J. MooreTeleplay by: Paul Dubov & Gwen Bagni
Story by: Paul Dubov & Gwen Bagni and Carole & Michael Raschella
January 25, 1978 (1978-01-25)188371
Tom doles out sage advice in the hometown newspaper's advice-to-the-lovelorn column but loses his cool when Elizabeth asks if she should take "The Pill".
2819"Hard Hats and Hard Heads"Barry CraneTeleplay by: Gary Adelson and Greg Strangis & Peter Lefcourt
Story by: Gary Adelson
February 1, 1978 (1978-02-01)188390
Encouraged by his friend's success, David trades in his hard hat for a newsman's notepad.
2920"Seven Days in February"Irving J. MooreBill Nuss & Dusty KayFebruary 8, 1978 (1978-02-08)188386
Nancy decides to convert to Judaism when she falls in love with a man she thinks is Jewish.
3021"The Boyfriend"Earl BellamyTeleplay by: Larry Arnstein & David Hurwitz
Story by: Robert L. McCullough & Joel Tappis
February 15, 1978 (1978-02-15)188388
Susan's boyfriend and Abby are suspected of having an affair when they work together on a project.
3122"Great Expectations"Arnold LavenBruce ShellyFebruary 22, 1978 (1978-02-22)[19]188391
Tommy cheats in school in order to meet his father's expectations.
3223"Long Night's Journey into Day"Philip LeacockGreg Strangis & Gary Adelson & Peter LefcourtMarch 1, 1978 (1978-03-01)[20]188394
Members of the Bradford family are forced to take shifts to keep Abby awake for 24 hours after she falls and suffers a concussion.
3324"The Lost Weekend"Harry HarrisPeter Lefcourt & Greg StrangisApril 28, 1978 (1978-04-28)188393
The Bradford children quickly transform an idyllic holiday away from parents.
3425"Poor Little Rich Girl"Philip LeacockTeleplay by: Kathy Donnell & Madeline DiMaggio Wagner and Paul M. Belous & Robert Wolterstorff
Story by: Kathy Donnell & Madeline DiMaggio
May 3, 1978 (1978-05-03)188395
Filming date: February 8–17, 1978[21]
The self-assured daughter of a prominent contractor showers David with expensive gifts in an attempt to buy his affections.
3526"Who's on First?"Ray MarshBill Nuss & Dusty KayMay 10, 1978 (1978-05-10)[22]188392
The Bradfords stage a show to support a local orphanage.
Note: The first appearance of the season three theme song.

Season 3 (1978–79)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
361"Who's Crazy Here?"Harry HarrisJ. Miyoko Hensley & Steven HensleySeptember 6, 1978 (1978-09-06)[23]
Abby is convinced Tom is having an affair with another woman.
372"Nine is Too Much"Stan LathanTeleplay by : Bruce Shelly & Peter Lefcourt and Shirl Hendryx
Story by : Shirl Hendryx & Earle Doud & John Agnew
September 13, 1978 (1978-09-13)[24]188655
When Abby manages Nicholas' Little League team, Tom provides unwanted coaching from the bleachers, and America's favorite pastime becomes the Bradfords' biggest headache.
383"Here We Go Again"
"Oh, No...Not Again!"
Arnold LavenPeter LefcourtSeptember 20, 1978 (1978-09-20)[25]188664
All the Bradfords wonder if there is going to be a new Bradford.
394"Cinderella's Understudy"Marc DanielsNick Thiel & David BraffSeptember 27, 1978 (1978-09-27)[26]188656
Joanie's debut as an actress becomes a conflict of interests for Tom, torn between his role of proud parent, and his unexpected role as theater critic.
405"Milk and Sympathy"Irving J. MooreBarbara Elaine SmithOctober 11, 1978 (1978-10-11)188654
Nicholas falls head-over-heels in puppy love with his fourth-grade teacher.
416"The Flunked and the Funked"Irving J. MooreBruce ShellyOctober 18, 1978 (1978-10-18)188653
Nancy drops out of school to get a job and finds that excitement and wealth are not part of the life of an unskilled worker.
427"Cops and Toddlers"Irving J. MooreSandra Kay SiegelOctober 25, 1978 (1978-10-25)[27]188658
Nancy brings home a group of toddlers, and Susan goes into basic training as a police cadet.
438"The Hipbone's Connected to the Thighbone"Irving J. MooreParke PerineNovember 1, 1978 (1978-11-01)188659
Mary is banished from the Bradford household after making her father angry.
449"Fast and Loose"Stan LathanGreg StrangisNovember 8, 1978 (1978-11-08)188666
David struggles to cope with the loss of a close friend, and ends up being arrested for bar-room brawling.
4510"War Between the Bradfords"Harry HarrisDusty KayNovember 15, 1978 (1978-11-15)
Abby's schoolboard speech on modern women in society creates a Bradford battle of the sexes.
4611"All the Vice-President's Men"Harvey S. LaidmanRobert L. McCullough & Jacqueline Simmel-McKaneNovember 22, 1978 (1978-11-22)[28]188663
Thanksgiving for the Bradford clan arrives in a storm of red tape when the nation's Vice-President accepts an invitation from Nicholas to visit their home for the holiday.
"You Won't Have Nicholas to Kick Around Anymore"Harry HarrisHindi BrooksNovember 29, 1978 (1978-11-29)[29]188657
When Nicholas accidentally starts a fire that destroys the celebration of Tom and Abby's first anniversary, the unhappy youngster leaves home in search of a new family.
Notes: This was a special 2-hour episode; syndicated versions of this episode split it into two hour-long parts, cutting some scenes out. Jack Elam guest stars.
4914"Alone at Last"Harvey S. LaidmanTeleplay by : J. Miyoko Hensley & Steven Hensley
Story by : Martin Roth
December 6, 1978 (1978-12-06)188652
After bundling their brood off to the mountains for a camping trip, Tom and Abby soon find their romantic weekend alone disturbed by too much peace and quiet.
5015"The Yearning Point"Stan LathanLarry Arnstein & David HurwitzJanuary 10, 1979 (1979-01-10)188660
Elizabeth's dream of going to a posh Eastern school conflicts with the Bradford household budget.
5116"Moving Out"Arnold LavenNick Thiel & David BraffJanuary 17, 1979 (1979-01-17)188671
When Tom gets upset about Susan's boyfriend taking a shower in the upstairs bathroom, Joanie coming in after curfew and Nancy sunbathing topless in the backyard, the girls move out of the house into their own apartment.
Note: This was a special 2-hour episode; syndicated versions of this episode split it into two hour-long parts, cutting some scenes out.
5217"Mother's Rule"Earl BellamySandra Kay SiegelJanuary 17, 1979 (1979-01-17)188669
When Tom gets upset about Susan's boyfriend taking a shower in the upstairs bathroom, Joanie coming in after curfew and Nancy sunbathing topless in the backyard, the girls move out of the house into their own apartment.
Note: This was a special 2-hour episode; syndicated versions of this episode split it into two hour-long parts, cutting some scenes out.
5318"Inlaws and Outlaws"Vincent McEveetyBruce ShellyJanuary 24, 1979 (1979-01-24)[30]188672
The mutiny by Susan, Joanie and Nancy continues, and Abby's parents announce their marital estrangement.
5419"Horror Story"Irving J. MooreChris Manheim & Pat GreenJanuary 31, 1979 (1979-01-31)188676
When a thunderstorm causes a power failure, the Bradford children use their vivid imaginations to transform the old homestead into a hysterical haunted house.
5520"Just the Ten of Us"Stan LathanJ. Miyoko Hensley & Steven HensleyFebruary 14, 1979 (1979-02-14)188673
When David and his girlfriend decide to live together, their decision threatens Tom's chance to win the "Father of the Year" award, along with an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii for the entire Bradford family.
5621"Best of Friends"Gerald MayerDavid Braff & Nick ThielFebruary 21, 1979 (1979-02-21)188676
Tommy rocks the Bradford family foundation with the shocking news of his impending marriage and fatherhood.
5722"The Kid Who Came to Dinner"Irving J. MooreChris Manheim & Pat GreenFebruary 28, 1979 (1979-02-28)188678
When Nicholas discovers that his new playmate has no parents, the youngest Bradford tries to turn friendship into brotherhood.
5823"The Better Part of Valor"Vincent McEveetyDusty KayMarch 7, 1979 (1979-03-07)188674
Abby finds her relationship with Tommy threatened when she returns to teaching and flunks a failed basketball star, causing Tommy peer-group problems.
5924"Dads, Daughters, Different Drummers"Robert L. FriendBruce ShellyMarch 14, 1979 (1979-03-14)[31]188679
When Tom forbids Joanie to see her new boyfriend, she runs away from home to be with the handsome young writer she loves.
6025"The Final Days"Vincent McEveetyNick Thiel & David BraffMay 2, 1979 (1979-05-02)188681
Tom's editorial, on "Passing the torch to a younger generation", ignites a Grey Power demonstration by Sacramento's indignant senior citizens.
"Marriage and Other Flights of Fancy"TBATBAMay 9, 1979 (1979-05-09)[32]
David, despite the family's concern and his father's objections, teams up with an outspoken female in a cross-country quest for new beginnings.
Note: This was a special 2-hour episode; syndicated versions of this episode split it into two hour-long parts, cutting some scenes out.
6328"The Graduates"Harry HarrisSandra Kay SiegelMay 23, 1979 (1979-05-23)188682
Graduation is hardly what the Bradfords expected—with Joanie upset over her future and Elizabeth suspended from her commencement exercises where her father is to be the guest speaker.

Season 4 (1979–80)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
641"Merle the Pearl"Stan LathanNick Thiel & David BraffSeptember 5, 1979 (1979-09-05)[33]
Nicholas's plan to impress his girlfriend backfires when star pitcher Merle (Brian Patrick Clarke in his debut appearance) ignores him at the ballpark.
652"The Cupid Crisis"Leslie H. MartinsonBruce ShellySeptember 12, 1979 (1979-09-12)[34]
When Tom makes a "losers pay for the dinners" bet on a touch football game between his family and his neighbor's, it's a wild "hut, hut, hut". Complicating matters: David returns home, determined to win Janet back; and Merle wants to propose to Susan.
663"I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do"Harry HarrisSandra Kay SiegelSeptember 19, 1979 (1979-09-19)[35]
David and Janet set a wedding date, which turns out to be the same day Merle and Susan chose, to accommodate Merle's ball-playing career move.
674"Ten Ships in the Night"Arnold LavenSteven Hensley & J. Miyoko HensleySeptember 26, 1979 (1979-09-26)
When Abby decides to return to school full-time, Nicholas winds up left out with no one home after school; Nancy decides to seek out a more serious career.
685"The Night They Raided Bradfords"David MoessingerStory by : Jock Paritz
Teleplay by : Chris Manheim & Pat Green
October 3, 1979 (1979-10-03)[36]
Merle's sister, Linda Mae, pays the Bradfords a visit. However, she misunderstands the Bradfords and their activities and calls the police.
696"The Devil and Mr. Bradford"Arnold LavenGil GrantOctober 24, 1979 (1979-10-24)[37]
Tom makes a hasty exit from a movie theater with little Nicholas in tow after he discovers too late that the movie—"Snow White..."—is X-rated.
707"Big Shoes, Little Feet"Carl KugelLinda ElstadOctober 31, 1979 (1979-10-31)[38]
Nicholas cuts school, when his new teacher holds the successes of his siblings over his head as motivation; Tom's looking for a partner for a father-son golf tournament, only to come up a son short.
"Fathers and Other Strangers"Harry HarrisGil GrantNovember 7, 1979 (1979-11-07)[39]
Aunt Vivian comes up with a plan to take the entire Bradford clan to Hawaii. Her plan: to reunite Tom with their estranged father. Meanwhile, Tom clashes with Tommy over his schoolwork conflicting with his band.
Notes: This was a special 2-hour episode; syndicated versions of this episode split it into two hour-long parts, cutting some scenes out. Janis Paige and David Wayne guest star.
7310"Letter to One Bradford"Jack BenderStory by : Juliet Packer
Teleplay by : Sandra Kay Siegel
November 14, 1979 (1979-11-14)[40]
Because he broke a chain letter, Nicholas believes he is to blame for Tommy being rushed to the hospital for surgery.
7411"Separate Ways"Jack BenderNick Thiel & David BraffNovember 21, 1979 (1979-11-21)[41]
Susan and Merle reach an impasse regarding their careers when he wants to fly to Puerto Rico to play winter baseball and she wants to finish her last semester of college at home.
7512"Arrivals"Harry HarrisBruce ShellyNovember 28, 1979 (1979-11-28)
Due to her separation from Merle, a depressed Susan comes home to the Bradfords...but the secret she's carrying is a surprise to the family.
7613"Brotherhood, Sisterhood"Harry HarrisStory by : Ken Berg & Mitzi McCall & Anne Convy
Teleplay by : Nick Thiel & David Braff
December 5, 1979 (1979-12-05)
Tom convinces David to hire Tommy on at the construction company, but Tommy struggles as the boss's brother; Elizabeth seeks advice about making friends and meeting guys at college from her sisters, with unfortunate results.
7714"Mary, He's Married"Irving J. MooreJames SchmererDecember 12, 1979 (1979-12-12)
Mary's friendship with a doctor begins to develop into a romance. Nicholas dabbles in sales with face cream. Joannie tries to produce a documentary on her family for a promotion at work.
7815"My Son, The Prom Queen"Irving J. MooreStory by : Parke Perine
Teleplay by : Bruce Shelly
January 9, 1980 (1980-01-09)[42]
When Tommy gets embroiled in a battle of the sexes—he runs for the title of Prom Queen at high school—he gets some unexpected help from the female population at the school.
7916"The Courage to Be"Jack BenderStory by : John Wirth
Teleplay by : Gil Grant
January 16, 1980 (1980-01-16)
Tommy tries to help Ernie with his drinking problem, while a busy Abby and the Bradford girls pool their resources to hire a maid.
8017"Semi-Centennial Bradford"Bernard McEveetyStory by : J. Miyoko Hensley & Steven Hensley & Max Hodge
Teleplay by : J. Miyoko Hensley & Steven Hensley
January 23, 1980 (1980-01-23)
It's a less-than-happy 50th birthday for Tom when, already bothered by his age, he believes the newspaper is trying to replace him with a younger columnist.
8118"The Commitment"Jack BenderNick Thiel & David BraffJanuary 30, 1980 (1980-01-30)
Tommy and his girlfriend Jill (Michelle Greene) are in love, but find their ideas of commitment do not necessarily match each other. Meanwhile, Nicholas tries to play Cupid for a friend, but finds himself as a target of unrequited love in return; and Susan's baby shower approaches.
8219"Seven More Days in February"John PattersonGil Grant & Gary AdelsonFebruary 6, 1980 (1980-02-06)[43]
Cupid runs amok in the Bradford household during Spring Break, causing Mary to fall for a young psychiatrist who really wants to be a stand-up comic, Nancy to swoon over an archaeologist on his way to his first dig, and Joannie to be swept away by an SAP (self-analysis programmer).
8320"The Return of Joe Simons"Jack BenderBruce ShellyFebruary 13, 1980 (1980-02-13)[44]
When Joe Simons returns promising Nicholas gold nuggets, Tom questions the motives of both Joe and his secretary (Mary Betten) as well.
8421"Bradford vs. Bradford"Leslie H. MartinsonNick Thiel & David BraffFebruary 27, 1980 (1980-02-27)[45]
Janet and David's marriage is threatened when she starts working in overtime at the office with a handsome lawyer.
8522"Memories"Vincent McEveetyChanning GibsonMarch 5, 1980 (1980-03-05)
A visiting ex-prisoner of war revives sad memories for Abby, who leaves for Carmel to make peace with the past; Nicholas goes steady with a girl who seems to like his present to her more than she likes him; Nancy gets tired of loaning money out to family.
8623"Official Positions"Leslie H. MartinsonPaul Schneider & Margaret SchneiderMarch 19, 1980 (1980-03-19)[46]
Merle recruits the girls for a charity basketball team, Tom is jealous when a publisher offers to publish Abby's thesis and Tom can't get his accepted, and Nicholas gets his friend's mom a job helping with the book.
8724"A Matter of Mentors"Vincent McEveetyStory by : Pat Green & Chris Manheim & E. F. Wallengren
Teleplay by : Pat Green & Chris Manheim
March 26, 1980 (1980-03-26)
Joanie gets an important assignment at work but Jeffrey believes that the boss will be expecting a favor in return. Joanie blows her chance at a big story. An experienced reporter makes her his partner and the result is an important scoop. Meanwhile, Nicholas has a problem with a bully that he can't hit back, and fed up with the way that Tom divvies up the family's discretionary funds, Tommy takes over budgeting for it.
8825"Roll Over Bradford"Stan LathanStory by : Gary Adelson & Gil Grant & William Daley
Teleplay by : Gary Adelson & Gil Grant
April 2, 1980 (1980-04-02)
Tom hits the roof when Tommy gets more interested in a music career than he is in college, and Aunt Vivian returns, with a fiancé in tow.
8926"A Little Triangle"Vincent McEveetyStory by : Nick Thiel & David Braff & Gail Honigberg
Teleplay by : Nick Thiel & David Braff
April 9, 1980 (1980-04-09)
Nancy dates a widower with a daughter, but she only loves his daughter; Tommy tries to get Ernie a prom date; Nicholas starts a dog-grooming business.
9027"Grad Night"Irving J. MooreChris Manheim & Pat GreenApril 30, 1980 (1980-04-30)[47]
The Bradford clan vacates the house for Tommy, Ernie and their girlfriends on Graduation Night.

Season 5 (1980–81)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
"And Baby Makes Nine"TBATBAOctober 29, 1980 (1980-10-29)[48]
A very pregnant Susan is in an automobile accident; Elizabeth moves in with her boyfriend and Merle pitches for the New York Mets.
Notes: This was a special 90-minute episode; syndicated versions of this episode split it into two hour-long parts, cutting some scenes out. This season started later than normal due to the actors' strike of 1980.
933"Jeremy"TBATBANovember 5, 1980 (1980-11-05)[49]
There's trouble brewing when the newest member of the Bradford household (Ralph Macchio) shares a smoke with Nicholas.
944"Welcome to Memorial, Dr. Bradford"TBATBANovember 12, 1980 (1980-11-12)
Abby gets a job as a school guidance counselor, but at one of the most violent schools in the city; Tom fails his driver's exam renewal test, and the Bradfords wind up as his chauffeur; Nicholas is dared to steal from a store.
955"Generations"TBATBANovember 19, 1980 (1980-11-19)
While baby Sandra Sue comes home from the hospital, Abby finds herself the target of criticism from the father of Tom's late wife Joan; Tommy finds a job...at a strip club.
966"Holly"TBATBANovember 26, 1980 (1980-11-26)
Tommy falls for a girl who's a lyricist. The garage is transformed into a small nursery for Susan and her baby.
977"The Maltese Airline Bag"TBATBADecember 3, 1980 (1980-12-03)[50]
Nicholas and his friend Marvin (John Louie) split up the loot when they come into possession of an airlines bag a mysterious woman in a blonde wig gave them to deliver to an equally mysterious red-haired woman who ran off before they could finish their mission.
988"Strike"TBATBADecember 17, 1980 (1980-12-17)
A newspaper strike finds finances tight at the Bradfords, until Nicholas suggests bartering as a way to survive.
999"Bradfordgate"TBATBAJanuary 7, 1981 (1981-01-07)[51]
Tom's nomination to the Board of Education makes him compromise his beliefs. Meanwhile, Joanie goes undercover as a TV reporter, and Nicholas tries to change his "cute" image.
10010"The Darlene Dilemma"TBATBAJanuary 14, 1981 (1981-01-14)[52]
Tommy has a new girlfriend but unfortunately for him, Jeremy finds himself attracted to her at the same time; Nancy lands a modeling job for a heating and cooling company with shady business practices; Nicholas turns to cooking to impress a girl.
10111"Second Thoughts"TBATBAJanuary 21, 1981 (1981-01-21)
Nancy's modeling career takes off, but the price of her new fame has a downside; Joanie takes a leave of absence from work to reassess her career; Nicholas has a concert ticket which Tommy is eager to get his hands on.
10212"David's Rib"TBATBAJanuary 28, 1981 (1981-01-28)
When Joanie gets David work renovating an opera house, it generates a court battle: David versus Janet. Elsewhere, Nicholas receives a horse as a gift, which Abby tries to help him keep; and Merle comes home from the Mets, but finds new mom Susan is more than a little too tired to celebrate.
10313"Vows"TBATBAFebruary 18, 1981 (1981-02-18)
It's a matter of vows, alright: Tom and Abby want to renew theirs for their third anniversary, but David and Janet try to hide the fact their marriage may have come to an end.
10414"The Way We Were"TBATBAMarch 4, 1981 (1981-03-04)
Tommy tries to get back with Jill when she starts liking Ernie. David's depressed over his new bachelor apartment complex. Nicholas & Jeremy deliver papers for the Sacramento Tribune.
10515"If the Glass Slipper Fits"TBATBAMarch 11, 1981 (1981-03-11)
Nancy is asked to pose topless for an ad; Elizabeth dates a guy who only seems to want friendship out of her; Nicholas becomes David's apartment-hunting guide.
10616"The Best Little Telethon in Sacramento"TBATBAMarch 28, 1981 (1981-03-28)
Joanie organizes a telethon for Channel 8. Jeremy tries to be Tommy's manager.
The episode features performances by Willie Aames, Connie Needham, Betty Buckley, Grant Goodeve, Dianne Kay & Adam Rich.
10717"Yet Another Seven Days in February"TBATBAApril 4, 1981 (1981-04-04)
The Bradford guys are the ones finding love this winter break: Tommy dates the daughter of a radio-station owner to get exposure for his band; David finds comfort with the girl's mother; Jeremy struggles to keep up with an athletic girl.
10818"The Idolbreaker: Part 1"TBATBAApril 11, 1981 (1981-04-11)[53]
Tommy's band gets the biggest gig of its career when the group's agent signs them for a national tour with a top star, but it gets derailed when his girlfriend has some breaking news of her own; the girls try to rehabilitate a homeless man; and Nicholas defends a girl's honor against a bully.
10919"The Idolbreaker: Part 2"TBATBAApril 18, 1981 (1981-04-18)[53]
Tommy moves into Ellen's apartment and makes plans for their future wedding; a new sexy female reporter stirs jealousy in Joanie; Jeremy celebrates his 16th birthday.
11020"Starting Over"TBATBAMay 9, 1981 (1981-05-09)
David and Janet begin to see each other again, but is reconciliation in the cards? Elsewhere, Jeremy discovers a skull, and Nicholas tries to use Elizabeth's relationship with his basketball coach as a means to an end.
11121"Goals"TBATBAMay 16, 1981 (1981-05-16)
When he suffers a shoulder injury, Merle's playing career is in jeopardy; Mary's the target of a lovesick patient; Jeremy finds a job selling questionable products of an experimental nature.
11222"Father Knows Best?"TBATBAMay 23, 1981 (1981-05-23)
Filming date: March 21–27, 1981[54]
Jeremy's father shows up to assert his parental rights. David's old high school classmates arrive for their reunion.

Post-series movies[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
M1Eight Is Enough: A Family ReunionHarry HarrisGwen Bagni-DubovOctober 18, 1987 (1987-10-18)
Tommy, David, Mary and the other Bradford siblings come home for Tom's 50th birthday.
M2An Eight Is Enough WeddingStan LathanGreg StrangisOctober 15, 1989 (1989-10-15)
The Bradfords bring their family home for David's wedding, which is open to discussion.


Reruns of all 112 episodes of Eight Is Enough have aired sporadically since the show's syndication debut in September 1982.[55] The show aired on FX from 1994 to 1997, on PAX in 1998, and as part of a 50th-anniversary Warner Bros. marathon on TV Land in 2005. Eight Is Enough also aired on the Chicago-based MeTV and MeToo, a sister station of MeTV, from 2008 to 2010[56][57][58] before MeTV spread to other markets around the U.S.

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 (Lorimar successor) Warner Bros. Television.


In Italy, RAI public networks aired the first season of Eight Is Enough under the title Otto Bastano in 1978,[59] 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!, which excludes the laugh track, was successful in the 1980s in France and Quebec, and with the francophone Canadian audience in general.

In Spain during the same period, Con Ocho Basta (Spanish for "Eight Is Enough") ran in public network RTVE's Friday night line-up.

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

Home media[edit]

On April 17, 2012, Warner Home Video released the complete first season of Eight Is Enough on DVD in Region 1.[60] The release includes the pilot episode (featuring Mark Hamill in the role of eldest son David) and a cast reunion special. 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-R via their Warner Archive Collection.[61] These are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases and are available through Warner's online store and Amazon.com. Season 3, Parts One and Two were released on April 30, 2013.[62]

Season 4, parts one and two were released on August 13, 2013.[63] The fifth and final season was released on March 11, 2014.[64]

DVD name Episodes Release date
The Complete First Season 9 April 17, 2012
July 16, 2019 (re-release)[65]
The Complete Second Season, Part 1 14 November 13, 2012
The Complete Second Season, Part 2 12 November 13, 2012
The Complete Third Season, Part 1 14 April 30, 2013
The Complete Third Season, Part 2 14 April 30, 2013
The Complete Fourth Season, Part 1 14 August 13, 2013
The Complete Fourth Season, Part 2 13 August 13, 2013
The Complete Fifth Season 22 March 11, 2014

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]