‘The Brady Bunch’: How the Iconic Series Inspired One Show Years Later

by Joe Rutland

A lot of people remember and love “The Brady Bunch” to this day. Yet, did you know that it helped inspire another TV series?

According to an article from ScreenRant, “Step by Step,” a 1990s sitcom starring Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Somers, used pretty much the same game plan as “The Brady Bunch.”

Duffy and Somers are divorcees who marry and bring their six kids together under one roof. The show deals with the ups and downs not only between the children but the new parents, too.

‘The Brady Bunch’ Offered ‘Step by Step’ Lots Of Show Ideas

Was there anything different between the two shows? Yes and no. First, the children involved weren’t three boys and three girls from their father’s and mother’s previous marriages. Second, “Step by Step” updated their stories from those of “The Brady Bunch.” Third, “Step by Step” was on ABC and CBS for seven seasons, while “The Brady Bunch” ran for five seasons on ABC.

Beyond that, though, you could put a template over the ABC sitcom and it would look pretty similar.

The article also points out that Duffy and Somers look kind of like Mike and Carol Brady, played by Robert Reed and Florence Henderson, respectively. Even the main character’s names were Frank and Carol.

Both shows are in reruns these days. Classic TV fans who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s can find “Step by Step” somewhere. The show ran between 1991-98 on network TV. “The Brady Bunch” ran between 1969-74 on ABC. That show has been a rerun staple since leaving ABC as new generations grow up watching the Brady family’s hijinx.

Florence Henderson Believed Show Represented All Types of Families

Henderson, who already made a name for herself on Broadway, in nightclubs and even on TV before “The Brady Bunch,” believed the show represented families.

She died in 2016. A few years before her death, Henderson did an interview with the Archive of American Television about the show.

“I think ‘The Brady Bunch’ reflects the idealized version of a family,” she said. “And I don’t mean an American family. I mean a family anywhere in the world.

“Because this show has been on the air for so many years, I get mail from so many different countries, like 122 countries or something,” Henderson said. “So I know that this show represents something to people, you know, all races, all colors, religions.”

She also said that minority groups adore the show because “I travel around so much, and I see that, and I experience it.”

Reed died in 1992. But their work as Mike and Carol Brady is not forgotten and, obviously, made an impression on the creators of “Step by Step.”