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The Brady Bunch house was featured in hundreds of establishing shots of the classic sitcom, but several members of the show’s cast had no connection to the actual property while they were filming it.
“I didn’t even know where it was until 1990,” Christopher Knight (who played Peter) said Thursday at the Television Critics Association’s press tour. Susan Olsen (Cindy) and Barry Williams (Greg) shared similar stories, with Williams recounting being invited to dinner “somewhere in the Valley” a while after the series ended and not realizing he was in the house used for exterior shots of the Bradys’ home.
Olsen said Brady Bunch producers told her that the real house looked just like the Paramount Studios sets, even though she could tell from photos it was one story and not two. “Finally my mom told me they just wanted to shut me up,” she recalled.
The cast has a much closer connection to it now, as all six surviving Brady Bunch stars — Williams, Knight, Olsen, Maureen McCormick (Marcia), Eve Plumb (Jan) and Mike Lookinland (Bobby) — took part in HGTV’s A Very Brady Renovation, which renovated the Studio City house to match the sets of the 1969-74 series. The show, which pairs the actors with a host of HGTV stars, is set to premiere Sept. 9.
HGTV and parent company Discovery are turning the show into a programming event. The premiere will run 90 minutes, and a number of other shows across Discovery networks will also have Brady-themed programming in conjunction with the HGTV series. A Very Brady Renovation also coincides with the 50th anniversary of The Brady Bunch‘s debut on ABC in September 1969.
The heavy work of the renovation was left to professional crews, but the Brady kids weren’t just there for the cameras. A sizzle reel showed them all pitching in on demolition, cutting wood and other tasks, and Knight, Plumb, Lookinland and McCormick all said they’ve built or renovated homes in the past, either for their own use or as a side business. Lookinland also owns a business in Utah that manufactures concrete countertops.
A Very Brady Renovation marks the first time all six actors have worked together since The Brady Girls Get Married in the early 1980s. Williams said there would have been “no show” had they not all agreed to come together, but the spirit of the project was such that they felt good about signing on.
As for their favorite room in the reno, the consensus was that maid Alice’s (played by the late Ann B. Davis) suite off the kitchen turned out especially well. The room wasn’t featured often in the series, but Plumb said she and Flea Market Flip host Lara Spencer worked together to re-create some of its furnishings, in part by analyzing freeze frames from the series.
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