The Brady Bunch told the unique story of a blended family engaging in your typical coming-of-age storylines for the 1970s.
The six brothers and sisters tried to get along with each other and they dealt with all sorts of growing pains at home and school. The series would go on special location (think Hawaii). Or, The Brady Bunch would bring in guest celebrities from athletes Don Drysdale and Joe Namath, to pop singer Davy Jones and horror movie star Vincent Price.
The sitcom premiered in September, 1969, with the series airing its final episode in 1974. The network canceled the show after 117 episodes, but it’s lived on in classic TV history. It’s popularity in reruns probably gives younger folks an exaggerated idea of how the show fared in the ratings when it first aired. For the five years of The Brady Bunch, the show never ranked among the top 30 most-watched shows in the country.
And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that The Brady Bunch never garnered an Emmy Award. The early 1970s featured some ground-breaking programming. A family sitcom as light as cotton candy wasn’t going to rate. Consider that All in the Family and the Mary Tyler Moore Show were dominating the airwaves 50 years ago.
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So If Not the Brady Bunch, Which Shows Won Emmys?
But what shows did earn Emmy wins during the run of The Brady Bunch? Let’s go to 1971, when the sitcom finished its second season. One shows were the Emmy darlings?
Jack Klugman, who portrayed Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple, won best actor for a comedy series. The other nominees included Klugman’s co-star Tony Randall; Carroll O’Connor of All in the Family; Ted Bessell from That Girl and Bill Bixby, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.
All in the Family’s Jean Stapleton won best actress. Meanwhile, Mary Tyler Moore, who starred in her own show, along with Marlo Thomas (That Girl), were the other nominees.
And All in the Family won top comedy, vying against The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Arnie, Love American Style and The Odd Couple.
All in the Family first premiered in 1971. During its eight years on CBS, it won 22 Emmys with 55 nominations. Meanwhile, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which premiered in 1970, won 29 Emmys with 67 nominations.
Let’s circle back to The Brady Bunch. Years after it left the network air Barry Williams won the Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award at the Youth in Film Awards. Williams played oldest brother Greg Brady. And his series has proved to be popular TV Land awards with its quirky categories. Ann B Davis (Alice) dominated those awards in the best TV maid category. And the show won the Pop Culture award in 2007.
And if you’re curious, the highest-rated Brady Bunch episode on IMDB involves Marcia and her nose. You’ve probably seen the meme, which might be better than a dusty Emmy.