The Brady Bunch tells the story of a lovely lady who was bringing up three very lovely girls. The show also followed the story of a man named Brady who was busy with three boys of his own. With such a large cast of meaningful characters, things could get crowded – and expensive. Anytime an actor appears only briefly in apiece, people joke about budget restraints. Sometimes, budgets really do limit what a piece of media can do when it comes to actors. This became the case when having the Brady Bunch kids on-screen.
To develop a successful show, execs need to be very creative. This creativity needs to be implemented not just when formulating each episode’s plot but also with how to keep the show running. For some time, this meant thinking with monetary responsibility. Now, we see nods to this show on HGTV productions and more. But years ago, things were very different.
To keep making money, not all Brady Bunch kids appeared every episode
To achieve this end, there was a period of time when the studio had a Brady kid got swapped out on a rotating basis. From episodes 32-33 and then 35-37, all in season 2, not all of the children appeared in each episode. When they aired on television, those episodes got spread out a bit throughout the season to make their approach a bit more subtle. We can only imagine what the wise-cracking Alice would say if she watched the show!
Ultimately, though, the plan was scrapped. Father-son show creator team Sherwood and Lloyd Schwartz couldn’t keep the routine going. In Brady, Brady, Brady: The Complete Story of The Brady Bunch as Told by the Father/Son Team who Really Know, Lloyd tells how his father approached the studio to end the practice. His father “knew the audience had their favorites and would miss the missing Brady kid.”
Such practices actually had a use for The Brady Bunch
This show is a household name these days. But, like Star Trek, its popularity actually grew after the show discontinued. While it had a loyal audience, ratings remained surprisingly average for such a staple of American sitcoms. That changed as the years went on, but at the time the studio really did feel the need to cut where they could.
Other examples of saving money where they could include filming two episodes a week. Part of this fluctuating dry spell and support for the show may, potentially, relate to when it aired. When The Brady Bunch kids could appear shortly after school let out, that lets younger audiences watch it then instead of primetime when mostly adults tuned in. Now, the show has a lot less to worry about, having developed a lasting legacy that expands into other shows.