In 2002, John Ritter returned to ABC, the network that aired Three’s Company, the sitcom that made him a star 15 years earlier.
In 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, Ritter plays sportswriter and dad Paul Hennessy. He wants to take a more active role in the lives of his children so, when his wife Cate (Katey Sagal) returns to work full-time, he decides to stay home to take care of the kids. The trouble is that they’re now a trio of independent teenagers — popular Bridget (Kelly Cuoco), brainy Kerry (Amy Davidson), and smart-aleck Rory (Martin Spanjers).
The show was a moderate success, ranked 43rd for its first season on the air, and was renewed with an average of 10.85 million viewers. As you may recall, Ritter died unexpectedly after completion of the third episode of season two. The show’s production was shut down to give the cast and crew time to grieve and also to give the network and producers time to decide if and how they should proceed.