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 father with eight children, who wrote a book with the same name. The series was rare in that it was one of the few hour-long television series to use a laugh track.
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.
Hyland died only 12 days after the first episode aired, and 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. They were married in one of Eight Is Enough's special TV-movie broadcasts in November 1977.
In another TV-movie event in September 1979, two of the children (David and Susan) were married off in a special double wedding extravaganza. As the show went on, Abby got her Ph.D in education and started a job counseling students at the local high school.
After the end of the show's fifth season, production costs and declining ratings caused the show to be canceled, along with seven other shows that season. Reunion movies were broadcast in 1987 and 1989.