Eight Is Enough

Eight Is Enough (stylized as 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 Thomas Braden, a real-life parent with eight children, who wrote a book by the same title.

Eight Is Enough
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
Composer(s)John Beal
Alexander Courage
Earle Hagen
Miles Goodman
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes112
Executive producer(s)Philip Capice
Lee Rich
Producer(s)Robert L. Jacks
Gary Adelson
Greg Strangis
Phil Fehrle
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time50 minutes
Production company(s)Lorimar 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)


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 (Dick Van Patten), was a newspaper columnist for the fictional Sacramento Register. His wife Joan (Diana Hyland) was a homemaker and took care of the children. Unfortunately, Hyland had been diagnosed with breast cancer earlier that year and subsequently underwent a mastectomy. However, the cancer had spread and her health began to rapidly deteriorate during filming, and she appeared in only four episodes before falling ill. She died shortly thereafter on March 27th, 1977 and her character's death was written into 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 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 another TV movie event in September 1979, David and Susan were both 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 doctor, and second-youngest son Tommy became a singer in a rock-and-roll band.

Cast and characters


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 a couple of performances. Beck and English 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.



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 were filmed on two separate sound stages at the studio: one for the main floor and one for the upstairs.

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.

In 1980 there was a writers' strike in Hollywood, and one of the offshoots of this industry problem was making cost-cutting measures in the music department on the show. Some of the later episodes were tracked with a combination of uncredited library music and with some original music by those of the aforementioned Messrs. Hagen, Beal, and Goodman.

Reception and cancellation

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.[2]

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. By coincidence, both movies aired opposite game two of the World Series on ABC.

Nielsen Ratings

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

Series overview

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)

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)[3]
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)[4]
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)[5]
Tommy falls in love for the first time and learns life's most difficult lesson.
55"Turnabout"Harvey S. LaidmanKatharyn PowersApril 12, 1977 (1977-04-12)[6]
David's romance with an older woman becomes a topic for argument.
Note: Adrienne Barbeau guest stars.
Note: Originally scheduled for March 29, 1977.[7]
66"Quarantine"Harry HarrisGwen Bagni & Paul DubovApril 19, 1977 (1977-04-19)[8]
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"TBATBAApril 26, 1977 (1977-04-26)[9]
Tom's swinging sister visits and the family is impressed.
Note: Janis Paige guest stars.
88"Hit and Run"Ralph SenenskyC. Robert Brooks and Robert L. McCulloughMay 3, 1977 (1977-05-03)[10]
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)[11]

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)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
101"Is There a Doctor in the House?"TBATBASeptember 14, 1977 (1977-09-14)[14]
Tom and the temporary single Doctor Maxwell try their luck as middle-aged swinging singles.
112"Trial Marriage"TBATBASeptember 21, 1977 (1977-09-21)
Tom disapproves when his oldest daughter moves in with her new boyfriend (Don Johnson). Enter a teacher named Sandra Sue "Abby" Abbott (Betty Buckley's first appearance) to sort all this out while tutoring Tommy.
123"Triangles"TBATBASeptember 28, 1977 (1977-09-28)
David's roommate dates both Joanie and Susan.
134"Double Trouble"TBATBAOctober 5, 1977 (1977-10-05)
Problems develop when Tom and Abby break up and he begins dating divorcee Ellen Manning.
145"Mortgage Burnin' Blues"TBATBAOctober 19, 1977 (1977-10-19)
A party at the Bradfords' spirals out of control.
156"Dark Horse"TBATBAOctober 26, 1977 (1977-10-26)
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"TBATBANovember 2, 1977 (1977-11-02)
Joanie is all excited about winning the lead in a Shakesperean production, but Tom is not.
"Children of the Groom"TBATBANovember 9, 1977 (1977-11-09)[15]
Tom and Abby decide to marry despite complications caused by his children.
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"TBATBANovember 16, 1977 (1977-11-16)[16]
Tom Bradford "resigns" as father when the kids accuse him of being a dictator.
2011"All's Fair in Love and War"TBATBANovember 23, 1977 (1977-11-23)
Tom's liberal attitudes are put to the test when Mary dates the black son of his old Navy friend.
2112"The Return of Auntie V"TBATBANovember 30, 1977 (1977-11-30)
Tom's flamboyant sister gives the newlyweds the down-payment on a new mansion.
Note: Janis Paige guests.
"Yes, Nicholas, There Is a Santa Claus"TBATBADecember 14, 1977 (1977-12-14)
A present Joan hid before her death restores the Bradfords' spirit after a Christmas burglar (dressed as Santa Claus) 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"TBATBAJanuary 4, 1978 (1978-01-04)
On Tom's birthday, he and Tommy have a man-to-man talk.
2516"Author! Author!"TBATBAJanuary 11, 1978 (1978-01-11)
Tom receives unexpected resistance from his family when he decides to write a novel.
2617"Much Ado About Garbage"TBATBAJanuary 18, 1978 (1978-01-18)[17]
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"TBATBAJanuary 25, 1978 (1978-01-25)
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"TBATBAFebruary 1, 1978 (1978-02-01)
Encouraged by his friend's success, David trades in his hard hat for a newsman's notepad.
2920"Seven Days in February"TBATBAFebruary 8, 1978 (1978-02-08)
Nancy decides to convert to Judaism when she falls in love with a man she thinks is Jewish.
3021"The Boyfriend"TBATBAFebruary 15, 1978 (1978-02-15)
Susan's boyfriend and Abby are suspected of having an affair when they work together on a project.
3122"Great Expectations"TBATBAFebruary 22, 1978 (1978-02-22)[18]
Tommy cheats in school in order to meet his father's expectations.
3223"Long Night's Journey into Day"TBATBAMarch 1, 1978 (1978-03-01)[19]
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"TBATBAApril 28, 1978 (1978-04-28)
The Bradford children quickly transform an idyllic holiday away from parents.
3425"Poor Little Rich Girl"TBATBAMay 3, 1978 (1978-05-03)
Filming date: February 8–17, 1978[20]
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?"TBATBAMay 10, 1978 (1978-05-10)[21]
The Bradfords stage a show to support a local orphanage.
Note: The first appearance of the season three theme song.

Season 3 (1978–79)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
361"Who's Crazy Here?"Harry HarrisJ. Miyoko Hensley & Steven HensleySeptember 6, 1978 (1978-09-06)[22]
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)[23]
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)[24]
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)[25]
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)
Nicholas falls head-over-heels in puppy love with his fourth-grade teacher.
416"The Flunked and the Funked"Irving J. MooreBruce ShelleyOctober 18, 1978 (1978-10-18)
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)[26]
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)
Mary is banished from the Bradford household after making her father angry.
449"Fast and Loose"Stan LathanGreg StrangisNovember 8, 1978 (1978-11-08)
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)[27]
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)[28]
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)[29]
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)
When a thunderstorm causes 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)[30]
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)
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)[31]
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)
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)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
641"Merle the Pearl"Stan LathanNick Thiel & David BraffSeptember 5, 1979 (1979-09-05)[32]
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)[33]
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)[34]
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 MoessingerTeleplay by: Chris Manheim & Pat Green
Story by: Jock Paritz
October 3, 1979 (1979-10-03)[35]
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)[36]
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)[37]
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)[38]
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 BenderTeleplay by: Sandra Kay Siegel
Story by: Juliet Packer
November 14, 1979 (1979-11-14)[39]
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)[40]
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 HarrisTeleplay by: Nick Thiel & David Braff
Story by: Ken Berg & Mitzi McCall & Anne Convy
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. MooreTeleplay by: Bruce Shelly
Story by: Parke Perine
January 9, 1980 (1980-01-09)[41]
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 BenderTeleplay by: Gil Grant
Story by: John Wirth
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 McEveetyTeleplay by: J. Miyoko Hensley & Steven Hensley
Story by: J. Miyoko Hensley & Steven Hensley & Max Hodge
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)[42]
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)[43]
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)[44]
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)[45]
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 McEveetyTeleplay by: Pat Green & Chris Manheim
Story by: Pat Green & Chris Manheim & E. F. Wallengren
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 LathanTeleplay by: Gary Adelson & Gil Grant
Story by: Gary Adelson & Gil Grant & William Daley
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 McEveetyTeleplay by: Nick Thiel & David Braff
Story by: Nick Thiel & David Braff & Gail Honigberg
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)[46]
The Bradford clan vacates the house for Tommy, Ernie and their girlfriends on Graduation Night.

Season 5 (1980–81)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
"And Baby Makes Nine"TBATBAOctober 29, 1980 (1980-10-29)[47]
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)[48]
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)[49]
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)[50]
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)[51]
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)[52]
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)[52]
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[53]
Jeremy's father shows up to assert his parental rights. David's old high school classmates arrive for their reunion.

Post-series movies

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.[54] 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[55][56][57] 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,[58] 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 true French version excludes the laugh track, Huit, ça suffit! was a big success in the 1980s both in France and Quebec, Canada, and among all Francophone (French-speaking) Canadians.

In Spain, Eight Is Enough was aired also in the 1980s. RTVE (public network) aired all the seasons under the title Con Ocho Basta (the Spanish translation) in Friday's evening time.

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

Home media

On April 17, 2012, Warner Home Video released the complete first season of Eight Is Enough on DVD in Region 1.[59] 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.[60] 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.[61]

Season 4, parts one and two were released on August 13, 2013.[62] The fifth and final season was released on March 11, 2014.[63]

DVD name Episodes Release date
The Complete First Season 9 April 17, 2012
July 16, 2019 (re-release)[64]
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


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