‘The Brady Bunch’ Creator Sherwood Schwartz Opened Up About Replacing Dog Tiger on Show

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Have you ever noticed that some favorite sitcoms or serial television shows replace a character with another actor? By this, I mean not simply changing the show a bit as a character leaves, adding an entirely new character to fill the void; but rather when a series decides to keep the character after an actor leaves, finding another star to fill in the spot instead.

Sure, it’s a practice that many shows have adopted. Roseanne did it in the early 1990s when the series replaced the original Becky with Sarah Chalke in the same role. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air did it with Will Smith’s television aunt Vivianne.

But, what if an actor is replaced without prior discussions with the showrunners? Seems almost impossible, right? Not so much says The Brady Bunch creator, Sherwood Schwartz.

During an Archive of American Television episode, Sherwood Schwartz discussed the moment that The Brady Bunch‘s Tiger the dog was replaced on the set. Unbeknownst to him, or any of the show’s actors.

“Tiger the dog left one day with his trainer,” Sherwood Schwartz explains. “Got away for a moment, and was killed by a car.”

But, the Brady Bunch producer explains, the trainer wasn’t about to end “Tiger’s” run on the hit comedy series. Instead, the trainer chose to “replace” the beloved The Brady Bunch pet.

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“He got another dog that looked exactly like Tiger,” Schwartz explains of the incident.

“H brought him to the set,” the producer continues, noting that at the time this was happening, Tiger the dog was an integral part of the specific episode the series was filming.

“He had to just lie on the floor and just look around,” The Brady Bunch showrunner remembers, noting the dog was supposed to look around “sheepishly.”

“If I can say this about a dog,” the producer adds with a laugh.

According to Schwartz, all they needed Tiger to do was stand in the room with his head down, slightly looking around.

“Well, the trainer put him in there,” The Brady Bunch producer remembers.

“But he was an untrained dog,” Schwartz adds. “This is another dog that looked like Tiger, fooled all of us, but it wasn’t Tiger.”

According to Schwartz, the Tiger look-alike wouldn’t stay in his spot. The dog’s trainer tried to place him a few more times, with no success, before finally coming clean.

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At this point, Tiger was in half the episode already, so the question became, what do they do now? How do they move forward when they still have the other half of the episode to shoot and a dog who doesn’t know Tiger’s commands.

Well, they found a way, a very unconventional way.

“We nailed Tiger down to the floor,” the Brady Bunch showrunner says, adding that he loves to get to this part of the story during his talks.

“This always gets a big reaction when I say this,” the producer quips.

“Then I explain, we just took his collar that was around his neck and nailed the collar down to the floor,” Schwartz says.

“So his head was down, and he was looking around sheepishly,” the producer says with a laugh.

“He had no place to go,” he adds, still laughing at the memory. “He was down where he should be!”