On this morning’s edition of the Today Show, several of the castmembers of Eight Is Enough reunited for the first time in 20-30 years.
Eight Is Enough ran on ABC for five seasons, from 1977 until 1981. Based on a book Thomas Braden, the dramady centers around columnist Tom Bradford (Dick Van Patten), his wife Joan (Diana Hyland) and their eight children, played by Grant Goodeve, Lani O’Grady, Laurie Walters, Susan Richardson, Dianne Kay, Connie Newton, Willie Aames, and Adam Rich.
Hyland became ill and passed away shortly after the series debuted. She’d only filmed a handful of episodes and her character was written out of the rest of the season. When the show returned in the Fall of 1977, Tom was now a widower who fell for and later married Abby (Betty Buckley), his son Tommy’s tutor.
The cast reunited twice for TV movies — An Eight Is Enough Reunion and An Eight Is Enough Wedding — but Buckley didn’t appear in either. Mary Frann plays Abby in the 1987 Reunion which ended up being the sixth highest rated TV movie of the season. In the 1989 follow-up, Sandy Faison plays Abby and, for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t as successful.
Today’s reunion marks the first time that members have reunited on-screen since the TV movies and it’s the first time Buckley has been with them since 1981 — almost 30 years ago.
Unfortunately, it’s not a full reunion. Van Patten, Buckley, Goodeve, Walters, Newton, and Aames are in New York while Kay is in Los Angeles. O’Grady died in 2001 from a drug overdose. For whatever reason, Richardson and Rich don’t visit Today but Rich did send a note that’s read on-air.
The reunion was split into two segments with Meredith Vieira conducting one and Al Roker doing the other. If you watch the first part, Kay is virtually ignored the entire time. When the first segment finished, East Coast viewers could hear audio from Kay’s mike throughout a Toyota commercial. She and a producer could be heard talking about how difficult it is to be part of a long distance group interview.
When the cast returned for the second segment an hour later, Roker made a point of asking Kay specific questions and including her in the segment.
So, it’s not perfect but it’s still fun to watch the Eight Is Enough reunion.
Following the interviews, Buckley tweeted, “So much fun seeing my ole buddies & castmates from “8’sEnuf” on the Today Show! Everybody looks great & seems very, very happy! Niiiiice.”
What do you think? Did you enjoy this cast reunion. Any questions that you wish had been asked?