When this series started, the Bradford family consisted of Tom, the father, a respected columnist for the Sacramento Register, Joan, his wife for about 25 years, and the eight children of the couple, all of them were very normal but quite independent. Unexpectedly, actress Diana Hyland died of cancer and was written off the series after 5 episodes. In the next season Tom meets Abby, the tutor of his younger children. Their romance would blossom rapidly and the couple married that same season, in a special two-hour episode.
This successful series ran for 112 episodes and a number of made-for-TV films shown over the years.