Three’s Company was a classic situation comedy show that first appeared on television screens across the United States in 1976 and ended in 1984 after eight seasons.
Fans of the long-running sitcom were devastated when it was pulled from the air and many of them were left to wonder what happened to the show.
Although the show may not be as popular as it once was, Three’s Company pushed the social barriers of the time and explored topics not normally seen on daytime television.
Without Three’s Company, situation comedies would not be what they are today.
Why Was Three’s Company Cancelled?
Three’s Company was cancelled because of the plummeting ratings that the show received during its eighth season.
Even the author of Come and Knock on Our Door: A Hers and His Guide to Three’s Company, Chris Mann, admitted that the storylines of later episodes had become repetitive and worn out by the end of the hit sitcom’s run.
Three’s Company follows the story of roommates Chrissy Snow, Janet Wood, and Jack Tripper attempting to live together in a way that appeals to their landlords, the Ropers.
To allow Chrissy and Janet to live with Jack, the trio must pretend that Jack is gay, which leads to plenty of misunderstandings and hijinks.
Chrissy Snow was played by Suzanne Somers, who became best known for her role as Chrissy along with her roles in She’s the Sheriff and Step by Step.
Joyce DeWitt was the actress who played Janet Wood and would later go on to appear in Supertrain and The Love Boat.
John Ritter played Jack Tripper, but he was also known for being the voice of Clifford, the Big Red Dog.
He also appeared on The Love Boat alongside Joyce DeWitt and was in the 1990 film Problem Child and many others.
While fans of Three’s Company look back at the last two seasons with nothing but admiration, the production team behind the sitcom wanted to stop the show before it had overstayed its welcome.
Three’s Company had just won a People’s Choice Award for season seven, and John Ritter had won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his role on the show.
At the time of the show’s cancellation, there were rumors that the cancellation was caused by Somers, Audra Lindley, or Normal Fell leaving.
Rather, it was simply the right time to end the show.
What Were The Spin-Offs Of Three’s Company?
Each of these shows maintained certain established characters, but they were unable to give audiences the exact attributes that they preferred in Three’s Company.
The Ropers followed Helen and Stanley Roper, played by Normal Fell and Audra Lindley, who sold their apartment complex featured in Three’s Company to get on the nerves of a whole new set of neighbors.
The show also includes frequent visits from Helen’s sister Ethel Ambrewster, who was played by Dena Dietrich.
Three’s a Crowd was the show that followed Three’s Company.
The last episode of Three’s Company actually served as the transition between shows.
This show followed Jack Tripper after he moved in with Vicky Bradford, but problems arise when Jack finds out that Vicky’s father can be quite a troublesome landlord.
Who Is Still Alive From Three’s Company?
Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers, Richard Kline, Priscilla Barnes, Jenilee Harrison, and Jordan Charney are the only living regular cast members of Three’s Company.
We’re lucky enough to still have half of the hit sitcom’s cast with us, but many of the actors have passed away since the show last aired.
John Ritter died on September 12th of 2003 from an undetected heart flaw called an aortic dissection.
An aortic dissection is when there is an abnormal separation of the tissues inside the walls of the aorta, which is the largest blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
Don Knotts passed away only three years later on February 24th of 2006, which was caused by pulmonary and respiratory complications from pneumonia.
For years prior, the famous television actor and ventriloquist had been battling lung cancer.
In the final 10 years of his life, Knotts had become a popular voice actor for children’s shows.
One of his final voice acting roles was as Mayor Turkey Lurkey from Disney’s Chicken Little.
Like her co-star Don Knotts, Audra Lindley also had to battle cancer in her final years.
Lindley had been diagnosed with leukemia before her final role on Cybill.
This dedicated television star was still filming only a day before she ended up passing away.
After filming an episode of Cybill, Lindley admitted herself to the local hospital after falling ill on set, and her script for the following episode was on her bedside stand when she passed away.
On December 14th of 1998, Norman Fell passed away at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s retirement home in Woodland Hills, California.
He had bone marrow cancer.
Why Did Suzanne Somers Leave Three’s Company?
Suzanne Somers was fired from Three’s Company after asking for a raise that would allow her to earn as much as many of her male television co-stars.
The scandal all started in 1980 when Somers asked to be paid the same amount as her male co-stars.
When Somers was first hired only a day before shooting, she agreed to a weekly salary of $3,500.
As the show became more popular, Somers was making $30,000 per week.
Somers felt that it was reasonable for her to be paid the same as any other actor, especially since she had the highest demographic of all women in television who were between the ages of 18 and 49.
Before making her request to the producers, Somers told her co-stars Ritter and DeWitt about her pay raise request and how it could benefit them in hopes of gaining their support.
Since Suzanne Somers had more experience in the television industry and her husband was television producer Alan Hamel, Hamel was sent in to negotiate a contract that would earn Somers $150,000, the average weekly salary of a male television star.
Somers also wanted 10% ownership of the show, which would earn her even more money.
At the time, Somers had no clue that her co-star John Ritter was making that exact amount while both she and DeWitt only made $30,000.
Ritter also had a clause in his contract that he would always earn the most money out of all the performers on the show.
Meanwhile, Suzanne Somers and Joyce DeWitt’s contracts had pairing clauses to allow the actors to earn the same amount at all times.
Somers tried to go public after her requests were denied, and she began being banned from filming, which sadly ended up killing her television career for a time.
What Did The Cast Think Of Their Time On Three’s Company?
Many of the actors from Three’s Company don’t look back on their time on the sitcom fondly, instead many of the actors find problems with their fellow cast members and many of the American Broadcasting Company’s executives.
Some of the actors who were treated the worst included Suzanne Somers and Priscilla Barnes.
The scandal with Suzanne Somers was enough to make more than just Somers suffer.
With Somers not showing up to work, the cast had to learn different scripts that were color-coded in blue and pink.
The blue scripts were used when Somers would appear on set and pink scripts were used when she would not appear.
Many of the lines that were meant for Chrissy Snow would simply be shifted to other roles, mostly landing on Richard Kline as Larry Dallas.
Although it may have been some trouble for the entire cast to need two different scripts, Don Knotts was disgusted by the way that many of the Three’s Company cast members would shun Somers when she would appear on set.
Knotts understood what Somers was going through, having had a similar experience when he asked for a pay raise from Sheldon Leonard during his time on The Andy Griffith Show.
While many of the cast members would be gathered around and excluding Suzanne Somers from their group conversation, Don Knotts would walk up to them and say, “Excuse me, I’m going to go talk to Suzanne.”
When Priscilla Barnes as Terri Alden took Somers and Chrissy Snow’s place, she was faced with constant ridicule from the producers.
The producers wanted complete control over Barnes’s appearance, even going as far as to ensure that she wasn’t “too blonde.”
Priscilla Barnes still describes her years on the sitcom Three’s Company as “unhappiest in her professional career.”
Who Were The Other Actors Considered For Three’s Company?
Joyce DeWitt, John Ritter, and Suzanne Somers were thankfully cast in their respective roles, given how successful their hit sitcom was.
The Three’s Company trio nearly included two different actors to play the roles alongside Suzanne Somers as Chrissy Snow.
Billy Crystal desperately wanted the role of Jack Tripper and even auditioned for the part.
When he first auditioned for the sitcom, Crystal was best known for his impersonations and celebrity roasts.
After finding out that he had lost the role of Jack Tripper to John Ritter, Billy Crystal didn’t give up and went on to take on the role of Jodie Dallas from Soap.
This other American Broadcasting Company sitcom followed the stories of the Dallas and Campbell family.
Jodie Dallas first appeared on the show dating one of the local football players, who had not come out regarding his sexuality.
Later in the show, Dallas ends up fathering a child after being seduced by one of the attorneys at his aunt’s murder trial.
Like Three’s Company, Soap ended up dying out by the early 1980s.
By the end of the show, Billy Crystal’s character believed he was an elderly Jewish man after being put through a failed hypnotherapy session.
Kathy Bates was one of the considered options for the role of Janet Wood when she auditioned in the late 1970s.
However, Bates later admitted that she was glad that she hadn’t gotten the role because she really didn’t want it.
Instead, Bates went on to be known for her role in the 1990 film Misery, which earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe
This made her the first actress to ever win Best Actress for a thriller or horror film, cementing her reputation as a horror film icon.
Where Is The Three’s Company Apartment Building?
The Three’s Company apartment building seen in the opening credits is located at 2912 4th Street, but it was never an actual apartment.
Instead, it was a single-family home that was built in 1928 and can still be seen to this day.
The home features four bedrooms and two bathrooms across 3,204 square feet.
Those who are looking to see the house in person may notice that tall hedges and a gate were added to the home to give the residents a little more privacy.
Associate producer Mimi Seawell had gotten permission to use the exterior of the house for the opening credits of the show from the owner of the building back at the time of filming.
Uncovering the true location of the building took years of sleuthing from Three’s Company fans.
The first fan to discover the actual building was the author of the blog When Write is Wrong.
For years, fans believed that the address of the home was 2314, but it was the blog author who discovered that it was actually 2912.
This dedicated fan then searched the 2000 blocks near Rose Avenue in Santa Monica, which was an estimated location given by author Chris Mann.
Then the fan used Google’s Street View and found the home using the proper address in less than half an hour.
Although the house has been difficult to find, the exterior has remained the same since it appeared in the sitcom.
One of the biggest reasons that the house was so difficult to find was that people were looking for the wrong address and newly added hedges made it difficult to see the front of the home from the street.
One of the most famous apartment buildings in television history turned out to be a single-family home.
Who Was The Last Of The Three’s Company To Be Cast?
Suzanne Somers was the last main actor in the sitcom to be cast, which didn’t occur until the day before the show was set to be shot.
Despite having to prepare at a moment’s notice, Somers was ready to take on the role and became the perfect Chrissy Snow.
The executives behind Three’s Company were looking for the perfect actress to play the bubbly Chrissy Snow, whose full name is actually Christmas Noelle Snow.
After desperately scrambling through audition tape after audition tape, Fred Silverman found Somers’s audition tape and hired her as soon as he found it.
Without all the roles being cast, the actors had never been brought together before their first day of shooting.
Joyce DeWitt, John Ritter, and Suzanne Somers first met each other only a short time before they were put in front of a live audience and three different cameras.
Despite having just met each other, the trio was able to create an incredibly memorable bond immediately.
Even with the intense pressure caused by the executives of the show, Ritters, DeWitt, and Somers were able to perform well enough to create a hit sitcom.
Not only did Somers serve as one of the main characters for Three’s Company, but she is also featured in the opening credits of the show.
When Jack Tripper falls off his bicycle after seeing a beautiful brunette on the beach, it’s Suzanne Somers that he’s distracted by.
Somers wore a wig for her role in the introduction, which was enough to trick even the biggest Three’s Company fan.
It took the executives creating three different pilot episodes before they found the perfect way to start their new show.
Three’s Company would go on to be one of the biggest roles in each of the cast members’ careers.