With “A Very Brady Renovation,” HGTV has successfully produced a show that at first glance might seem like little more than an elaborate stunt, but then evolves into a fascinating made-for-television project that remains true to HGTV's DNA.
This is not a phony reality show, but a real-life renovation with very unique challenges, all of which are patiently laid out in the show's narration by one of the twin Scott brothers of HGTV's “Property Brothers.”
The show is a real estate show that even starts with HGTV's purchase of this North Hollywood house whose exterior was seen on “The Brady Bunch,” which premiered 50 years ago in September 1969.
The house was put up for sale in July 2018 by members of a family who had owned it since 1973. Their asking price was $1.885 million, but competing offers drove the price up, and HGTV bought it for $3.5 million. This is all reported in the first episode of this new series airing Monday night (September 9).
The exterior of this mid-century split-level home is familiar to anyone who has ever seen the show. But the interior spaces seen on the show were all created on a Paramount soundstage. As such, their dimensions were not at all like those of real rooms in this house -- or any real house, for that matter.
Thus, the challenge for the HGTV renovation team -- including the Scott brothers and six other HGTV stars, along with all six of the grown-up “Brady Bunch” kids -- was to re-create these fictional spaces in the real rooms available in this mid-century house. It was the renovation equivalent of fitting a square peg into a round hole.
The challenges included wrangling all of the 1970s furnishings -- from flooring and wallpaper to vintage appliances -- with which HGTV intended to turn this house's interior into the authentic ’70s environment millions knew and loved on the original show.
There were permitting issues that had to be fast-tracked, and neighbors who needed to be placated. Not only did they dread the invasion of their neighborhood by TV crews and construction workers, but they were also nervous that the renovated house would draw crowds of sightseers to this otherwise quiet street. All of this is related in great detail on the show.
In all, 15 original “Brady” spaces had to be re-created in a house in which there was no room for about half of them. As a result, the renovation included a 2,000-square-foot addition in the back that had to be built in such a way that it would not be visible from the front -- which is the angle and view of the house that had to be preserved, since this was the view that was seen on the show.
With eight HGTV stars on board to spearhead the design and renovation, the addition of the six Brady kids might have seemed superfluous. But their presences here are more than welcome.
None of them had ever laid eyes on the house before, since none of them were ever needed to appear in the exterior shots of the house. In the photo above, Maureen McCormick (who played eldest daughter Marcia) and Christopher Knight (Peter) are seen working in the house with the Scott brothers.
HGTV has been promoting this series for weeks, even going so far as to ballyhoo it in its publicity materials as “the programming event of the year.” For once, this kind of Barnumesque verbiage might actually be true.
“A Very Brady Renovation” premieres Monday (September 9) at 9 p.m. Eastern on HGTV.