BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. – It takes more than just some “Brady Bunch” nostalgia to get the actors who played the original six Brady kids to get back together.
For the upcoming “A Very Brady Renovation” (due Sept. 9) HGTV managed to do it by –in the words of Greg Brady (Barry Williams) – paying “way, way too much” to buy the house that was used for exterior shots on the iconic 1970s sitcom and renovate it to look like the original sets of the show (shot in a Hollywood studio).
“It was stupid because they paid like way too much. I mean like way, way too much for this house,” Williams told the Television Critics Association Thursday. The network won a bidding war for the mid-century Los Angeles split-level home against the likes of Lance Bass, after the house was listed for $1.885 million.
5/23/19 1:48:58 PM — Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A. The iconic staircase in "The Brady Bunch House" in the San Fernando Valley. HGTV reveals the redesigned Brady Bunch house for "A Very Brady Renovation" on Thursday May 23, 2019, in Studio City, Calif. Photo by Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Staff ORG XMIT: RH 138039 Brady Bunch hous 05/23/2019 [Via MerlinFTP Drop] (Photo: Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY)
Despite what Williams sees as too big a budget, he’s in awe that HGTV pulled off “Brady Renovation,” which not only brings together all six living ‘Brady’ actors, but HGTV stars of “The Property Brothers and “Good Bones.” “There are so many elements that had to come together to make this thing work. It was crucial that we had everybody. If we didn’t have every single person on this stage that was in that show, no (HGTV) show.”
The actors, also including Maureen McCormick (Marcia), Eve Plumb (Jan), Susan Olsen (Cindy), Mike Lookinland (Bobby) and Christopher Knight (Peter), weren’t just window dressing on the project; they picked up sledgehammers and helped bring the house to life.
Members of "The Brady Bunch," cast, from left, Mike Lookinland, Christopher Knight and Barry Williams participate in HGTV's "A Very Brady Renovation" panel at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour. (Photo: Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
“They divvied us up in different rooms sort of to become the Brady lead on that particular room or area,” Knight says. “I don’t remember what I was to work on, but I said I got to work in the kitchen … because of pork chops and applesauce!”
The cast promises the final product will wow fans, who have been so dedicated some even donated vintage items to the effort.
“It is almost a perfect replication, from fabrics to carpeting to furniture … to the fake grass in the backyard,” Knight says. “I think one of the most interesting aspects of working on this project was learning just how connected the audience was to this house, but we had no recollection of it. It was placed as an establishing shot in the show … nobody worked there.”
The emotional connection to the house grew for the cast, and the crew that worked on the show and the renovation.
“It was this group of people that all wanted in,” Knight adds. “Everybody was excited to be there.”
5/23/19 10:50:57 AM — Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A. Maureen McCormick and Barry Williams in front of the "Brady Bunch House" in the San Fernando Valley. HGTV reveals the redesigned Brady Bunch house for "A Very Brady Renovation" on Thursday May 23, 2019, in Studio City, Calif. Photo by Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Staff ORG XMIT: RH 138039 Brady Bunch hous 05/23/2019 [Via MerlinFTP Drop] (Photo: Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY)
What happens to the house when the project is done and the new series airs? HGTV president Jane Latman was cagey.
“We’re making plans,” she says. “We don’t have a set plan yet, but watch this space.”
But Williams, ever as shrewd as Greg, notes one problem with setting up anything like very Brady tours. “It’s in a residential area. It’s not zoned commercially.”
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