Eight Is Enough

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents




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.

Production details

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.




Dick Van Patten on the camaraderie between the cast members and advice he gave to the younger members of the cast of Eight Is Enough
William Blinn on the casting of Roots
Lee Rich on Eight is Enough as the modern day version of The Waltons
Dick Van Patten on issues Eight is Enough dealt with throughout the series
Ralph Senensky on the death of Eight Is Enough's Diana Hyland
Who talked about this show

William Blinn

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William Blinn on adapting Eight Is Enough for television, and on casting the show
William Blinn on the concept and stories of Eight Is Enough
William Blinn on the death of Diana Hyland, who played the original wife on Eight Is Enough
William Blinn on Mark Hamill leaving Eight Is Enough after the pilot episode, and on Betty Buckley joining the cast
William Blinn on the end of Eight Is Enough

Paul LaMastra

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Paul LaMastra on editing Eight is Enough

Leslie H. Martinson

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Eight Is Enough

Dick Van Patten

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Dick Van Patten on how appearing on Mama prepared him for his role on Eight is Enough
Dick Van Patten on how he got involved with the TV show Eight is Enough and working on the show with the cast and crew

Pam Polifroni

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Pam Polifroni on casting Eight is Enough

Carroll Pratt

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Carroll Pratt on providing a laugh track for Barney Miller, The Love Boat, Mork & Mindy, Eight is Enough, Taxi, and Benson

Lee Rich

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Lee Rich on producing Eight is Enough

Ralph Senensky

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Ralph Senensky on the death of Eight Is Enough's Diana Hyland

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