September 9, 2019

HGTV Premiers "A Very Brady Renovation" on Mon., Sep. 9, 2019

Among U.S. TV sitcoms of the 1970's, few left as big an impression as Sherwood Schwartz's "The Brady Bunch". Thanks to relentless, seemingly un-ending re-runs in syndication, as well as numerous specials, spinoffs and even a few reboots (including a successful 1995 movie which starred a different cast, which was followed by a second movie), it ranks among the most prolific shows of that particular time period.

Its worth acknowledging that while "The Brady Bunch" is usually called a seventies TV show, it actually began in 1969 when it first aired on ABC broadcast television's fall season. But the constant reruns in syndication, specials, spinoffs (who remembers "The Brady Brides"?) and other things all happened in the seventies.

Although the last of the show's regular adult cast have now passed, the child cast is still very much alive as of 2019. Actress Florence Henderson, who played mother Carol Brady passed away [of heart failure] on November 24, 2016 at age 82 was the last adult cast member to pass, She was preceded by actor Robert Reed who played father Mike Brady, and actress Ann B. Davis who played the live-in housekeeper Alice Nelson on "The Brady Bunch" (as well as characters on several other sitcoms), plus actor Allan Melvin who played Sam the Butcher and Alice's boyfriend on the show all preceded Henderson. Many of those actors had successful acting careers before (and after) "The Brady Bunch".

For a window of time following the death of the show's iconic producer Sherwood Schwartz in 2011 (even though his son Lloyd carried the torch for a while), there was some thought within show biz circles that the world had finally seen the last of the iconic Brady's on television, at least outside of continued reruns. But it turned out that declaration was premature as well. Actress Maureen McCormick re-emerged (briefy) on TV to promote a new autobiography she called "Here's the Story" (named after the first line in the theme song of "The Brady Bunch") in 2009, but it was mostly just book launch promos, but nothing sustained.

But the presumption of the end of the Brady's was turned upside down on July 18, 2018, when the Los Angeles Times reported (see the news HERE for more) that the iconic house which was used for outdoor representations of the television Brady family's residence, including the show's opening and closing scenes as well as numerous interludes to denote the time of day was for sale.

This became known as the Brady house, located at: 11222 Dilling St, Los Angeles
The actual house that came to become known as the Brady house was located in Studio City near the Colfax Meadows neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles (the official address is 11222 Dilling Street, Los Angeles, CA 91604), and was listed for sale for $1.885 million on July 18, 2018. George and Violet McCallister bought the two-bedroom, three-bathroom house in 1973 for $61,000, county real estate records show.

The listing was the first time that the house was for sale in 50 years. The house was actually built in 1959. Although the house was well-maintained and was on a large piece of property, the house's interior was very dated, which made it ripe for a buyer that might level it for the large lot and build a new house in its place. However, at the onset, there were expectations that due to the house's iconic celebrity status, there could be some competitive bidding for it.

Actress Maureen McCormick, who played oldest sister Marcia Brady on the show — shared that she would have loved to have bought the house for herself. But she ultimately knew there would be fierce competition given its celebrity status. She was right about that.

Indeed, immediately following the listing for the house, there were reports that former N'Sync band member Lance Bass had placed a bid for the house. But the sellers were very pleasantly pleased with the outcome of the sale of their deceased grandmother's house. It sold in August 2018 for $3.5 million -- nearly twice (86% more than the asking price) the house's original asking price.

Following the news that the iconic "Brady house" was sold, there was speculation on the actual buyer. That speculation would end before too long. But behind-the-scenes, the buyer had some very interesting plans for the house.

The buyer of the Brady house was later revealed to be the cable television network HGTV (the initials initially stood for Home & Garden Television). The surprise was that the channel planned  to remodel the house to look just as it did on "The Brady Bunch". It was no small undertaking given that the house was single story while the television home on "The Brady Bunch" was depicted as a two-story house. Although the house had a lot of property, the actual TV show's interior scenes were filmed on a set in Stage 5 at Paramount Studios. The set looked almost nothing like the actual house did.

Actress Susan Olsen, who played youngest sister Cindy Brady in the original series, admits she felt a little bit of resentment about the Brady house because as a child, she asked the producers why they chose that particular house for the exterior shots, and they told her: "I'll have you know that if you walk into that house, it looks exactly like this set." As it turns out, that was a very big lie made to a very little girl!

Beyond Maureen McCormick and Susan Olsen, actress Eve Plumb, who played the beleaguered middle sister Jan Brady on the show, made some real estate headlines of her own in 2016 when she sold her oceanfront Malibu beach house. An 11-year-old Eve Plumb, with the help of her parents, bought the oceanfront property in 1969 for just $55,300. At the time, Eve Plumb was already a veteran child actor with the western TV series "Gunsmoke" and "The Big Valley" on her resume. She later sold that beach house, best described as an 850-square foot cottage located at the south end of Escondido Beach, for $3.9 million after decades of her ownership. (see HERE for more on that). Even adjusting for inflation, that was still more than a ten-fold return on her initial investment.

As it would later be revealed, HGTV had interesting plans for the iconic Brady house. The network secretly recruited all of the original castmembers who are still alive, including Barry Williams (Greg Brady), Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady), Christopher Knight (Peter Brady), Eve Plumb (Jan Brady), Mike Lookinland (Bobby Brady) and Susan Olsen (Cindy Brady) along with several of the cable network's own stars, including "Property Brothers" Drew and Jonathan Scott, "Good Bones'" Mina Starsiak and Karen Laine, "Restored by the Fords'" Leanne and Steve Ford, "Hidden Potentials'" Jasmine Roth and "Flea Market Flip's" Lara Spencer to renovate the iconic Brady house to look exactly as the original Paramount studio set for the show looked on the sitcom. They were able to recruit all of them (while other specials and reboots had to find at least a few replacement cast members) because this project was so fundamentally different from most prior Brady reunions and specials. The cast were able to roll up their sleeves and use sledgehammers, nail guns and saws -- which never happened in any of the earlier reunions of "The Brady Bunch".

Tonight, on September 9, 2019 HGTV will finally premiere its highly-anticipated TV series, which follows America's the iconic Brady family (the children, at least) working alongside several HGTV stars to renovate the iconic house. HGTV has been busy promoting the show on social media and elsewhere for the limited-run  series. Obviously, upon completion of the renovations, the series will be done. But HGTV expects expects to draw record audiences for the new, limited-duration series. If you miss the premier on cable (or you're a cord-cutter without cable), you can catch clips from the show on the website dedicated to "A Very Brady Renovation" at

Below is a brief YouTube playlist I created which contains some of the promotional and/or news clips on today's "Very Brady Renovation" which airs this evening on HGTV. You can watch below, or by visiting


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