John Ritter’s Response To Criticism For ‘Three’s Company’ Spinoff

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John Ritter's spinoffJohn Ritter's spinoff

Unlike Three’s Company, the spinoff show Three’s A Crowd was not well received by most of its audience. The reactions were shocking to John Ritter, who expected a spillover from the impressive reception the original series got.

Three’s Company did so well that it earned several recognitions, including Emmy awards and Golden Globes. Unfortunately, ratings began to drop during the final season due to the plots lacking novelty, and this led to the show getting canceled in 1984.

John Ritter was not ready to let go of ‘Three’s Company’

John Ritter's spinoffJohn Ritter's spinoff
THREE’S COMPANY, from left: Jenilee Harrison, John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, 1977-84.

After Three’s Company ended, Ritter was not ready to part with his character — Jack Tripper — just yet, so he collaborated with producers for a spinoff that introduced a new character, Vicky. Vicky was Jack’s girlfriend, and some fans were concerned that he lived at her house.

Many people thought younger viewers would be negatively influenced by the portrayal of an unmarried couple living together; however, here’s what Ritter had to say: “I never had any reservations about the situation. They both love each other with all their hearts. I lived with my wife for two years before we got married.”

John Ritter's spinoffJohn Ritter's spinoff
THREE’S COMPANY, John Ritter, 1977-1984. (c)ABC/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

The original’s decline

According to researcher and Three’s Company biographer Chris Mann, viewership remained high with fans who thought “that there are a handful of episodes in Season eight that are among the series’ best.”

“Things were still jelling so well…on top of that, The A-Team premiered in ’83 on NBC, and they were knocking off everything,” he explained. “They were the show that knocked off the Fonz, and it knocked off The Jeffersons. Three’s Company had also lost its lead-in with Laverne and Shirley in ’83. So the sitcom itself was dying out.”

John Ritter's spinoffJohn Ritter's spinoff
THREE’S COMPANY, rear from left: John Ritter, Suzanne Somers, foreground from left: Audra Lindley, Norman Fell, Joyce DeWitt (Season 1), 1977-84

The final season also saw some altercation between Joyce DeWitt, who played Jack’s roommate Janet, and Ritter himself due to the fact that plans to make a spinoff were kept from the actress, who was furious after finding out. “For whatever reason, John followed the producers’ advice not to disclose to Joyce that they had planned to spin off his character at the end of Season 8. So there was deception there that she took personally,” Mann explained. “John was in a very tricky situation, and maybe there was a better way to handle it, but there were certainly differences on the set then.”

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