This was one of my all-time favorite shows. I thought John Ritter was incredible and his infectious sillyness was really evident in the blooper collection I highlighted above from You Tube. He was a master of physical comedy and timing. Network producers thought so as well. Ritter beat out the likes of Billy Chystal for the role.
The show rocketed to the top for ABC and during a time when ABC was king it just further bolstered the netowrks hold on first place in the ratings race. But like all good shows it wasn’t without controversy. In the 1980-81 season Suzanne Sommers began to demand a higher salary than the other actors AND wanted part ownership in the show. When the network said no she would periodically not show up for work. John Ritter and Joyce DeWitt were furious and refused to work with her anymore. So during that season “Chrissy Snow” was visiting her parents and wouldn’t be in the episode save for a 60-second phone conversation with Jack and/or Janet at the end of the show. The writers had to get Suzanne to come in early and tape those and then leave before anyone else got there since Ritter and DeWitt refused to work with her. At the end of that season Suzanne Sommers was fired.
The show went through several years of tough times. Even the Ropers (Norman Fell and Audra Lindley) had it rough. They were offered a series of their own…doesn’t sound all that bad…but Norman Fell was hesitant since Three’s Company was doing so well. After 6 months of negotiations he finally agreed under the terms that if the show failed they could come back. The network said they would honor that for a year. The Ropers were cancelled after one-and-a-half years and they were replaced by Don Knotts as Mr. Furley.
But John Ritter’s character of Jack Tripper carried on. In fact after the show was cancelled in 1984 John was given a sequel called “Three’s a Crowd”. But in my book there will never be another Three’s Company it is and always will be a classic.