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8 Simple Rules Will Continue w/o John Ritter

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8 Simple Rules Will Continue w/o John Ritter

Old 09-17-03, 08:22 AM
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8 Simple Rules Will Continue w/o John Ritter

Ritter's sitcom to continue without him
Wednesday, September 17, 2003 Posted: 8:10 AM EDT (1210 GMT)

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- ABC's "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" will continue despite star John Ritter's death and will show the TV family coping with his character's loss, the network said Tuesday.

"Everybody recognizes that John loved that show. ... He'd have wanted the show to continue," Lloyd Braun, chairman of ABC Entertainment Television Group, told a telephone news conference.

Braun and ABC Entertainment President Susan Lyne said the sitcom will debut next Tuesday as planned and that the network will air the three episodes Ritter filmed before his death last week.

After that, the series co-starring Katey Sagal will go into repeats while writers retool it and production starts. No date was given for when the show will return to the air.

Ritter, making a TV series comeback 25 years after he starred in "Three's Company," became ill on the "8 Simple Rules" set and died Thursday of an undetected heart problem. He was 54.

It hasn't been decided if the death of Ritter's character, Paul Hennessy, will mirror what happened to the actor, ABC executives said.

Ritter's series, which premiered last year with solid ratings, was considered a key part of ABC's comeback effort and anchored its Tuesday night lineup of family comedies.

ABC knows it's facing a difficult task, rebuilding a comedy on a death and especially that of the series' star, network executives acknowledged.

"We're going to take it an episode at a time," Lyne said. While the idea of recasting Ritter's role was quickly rejected, new characters will be added at some point, the ABC executives said.

Although Braun lauded Sagal as a "fantastic actress" capable of taking on a greater role in the series, he said it would become more of an ensemble production.

Ritter's widow, actress Amy Yasbeck, and the series' cast and producers supported the decision to keep going, Braun said.

A similar episode in television history came when comic Redd Foxx died in 1991, after making seven episodes of his comeback series on CBS, "The Royal Family." The show returned without him six months after his death, but lasted only a few episodes.

Comedian Freddie Prinze, star of "Chico and the Man," committed suicide in 1977 in the third year of the popular NBC sitcom. The network cast a new, younger Chico but the show was gone in a year.

The rarity of such occurrences makes it difficult to predict how "8 Simple Rules" will fare, Braun said. "I think it will be a show we'll be proud to put on," he said.

Each of the first three episodes already shot will start with a special introduction, featuring the cast members. The next new show will deal with Paul Hennessy's death.

"Future episodes will take viewers into the Hennessy household as they experience the loss of a father and construct a new life together," said Braun. "We will play out the situation as real life."

Executives said they considered a number of options, including canceling the show.

"This is a business," analyst Steve Sternberg of the ad-buying firm Magna Global USA said of the network's decision. But it's a risky one, he said.

"Initially, the show could benefit from the publicity," Sternberg said. "But they will have to do it well. If they don't, it could flop quickly and ABC will look bad doing it."
http://www.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/TV/0....ap/index.html

The English language does not have enough words to express what a horrendously bad decision this is.
Old 09-17-03, 08:37 AM
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Re: 8 Simple Rules Will Continue w/o John Ritter

Quoth NCMojo <HR SIZE=1>The English language does not have enough words to express what a horrendously bad decision this is. <HR SIZE=1>

How about, "I have no idea how this will turn out and will wait to see it before I judge it."

I agree that Sagal is incredibly talented and could pull off the drama aspects of this, and I think Davidson and Cuoco could as well. Rory's character is a bit of a wild card, as he's been nothing but scheming comedy since the show premiered, but who knows.

This is a very delicate and difficult task and could prove to be a profoundly embarassing move on the part of ABC, or it could be something truly special that would have made Ritter proud. Every time I've seen an interview with Yasbeck and Ritter, they really seem to "get" each other, and if she's for it, I'm not going to condemn it. 8 Simple Rules ... wasn't just another dumb sitcom; it was very, very good, in large part because it handled family life realistically, without eye-rolling Full House moments. Were this most any other comedy, I would gag at the thought, but the show is realistic enough that they can possibly pull it off. I'll give them the chance. They just better not screw it up.

das
Old 09-17-03, 08:59 AM
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Is it me or does it seem as though ABC is all about banking on John Ritter's death?
Old 09-17-03, 09:03 AM
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if they start running ads to purchase the special that aired last night on VHS/DVD this week I will say yes.
Old 09-17-03, 09:05 AM
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Yeah, it's really hard to tell. There's a fine line between honoring the man and his life's work and giving him proper tribute versus banking on his death. It's a damned if you do / damned if you don't scenario. I think we'll have to wait and see before knowing what ABC's true intentions are.

das
Old 09-17-03, 09:16 AM
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Tread very carefully, ABC.
Old 09-17-03, 09:19 AM
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This is what they did with that "Valerie" sitcom when Valerie Harper left and the show became "Valerie's Family" and then "The Hogan Family." Obviously, the real actress didn't die...but the in-show storyline was the same.
Old 09-17-03, 09:21 AM
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Originally posted by Red Dog
Tread very carefully, ABC.
No kidding - I'll wait and see how it turns out, but I don't have a good feeling about this.

I guess this show will be a half-hour drama for quite some time.
Old 09-17-03, 09:21 AM
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heard this on the news this morning
I never watched the show, conflicted with other things I watch
I think this could turn out ok, hopefully ABC will do it well and in a respectful manner to Ritter
Old 09-17-03, 09:32 AM
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I'm reminded of what Newsradio went through when Phil Hartman passed away. That fifth season was okay, but definitely not as good as the ones before it; and then it got cancelled anyway. Best to stop the show now than have it cancelled later on.
Old 09-17-03, 09:50 AM
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I think this also demonstrates just how weak a network ABC is right now. They have very few hits, so they will resort to anything to keep one of the few hits they have alive.
Old 09-17-03, 09:55 AM
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It's a greed thing, pure and simple. This will last about as long as the post-Prinze "Chico & The Man."

Bad, bad idea.
Old 09-17-03, 10:39 AM
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No disrespect to the acting chops of Katey Sagal or the inherent hotness of Kaley Cuoco or Amy Davidson, but a sitcom like that without its star can never be the same, and should end with a little dignity, and not with a prolonged stab at realism in an attempt to keep it afloat. It's a sitcom. I want to laugh.

The ensemble of 8 Simple was very enjoyable, and I liked the show quite a bit, but without Ritter it seems like it will be completely rudderless.

As a fan of the show, I look forward to the three "new" episodes, and I will certainly be interested in how they introduce his character's death in the fourth installment.

However, neither Sagal or the two hot daughters seem to have the chemistry to hold the show together (to say nothing of the general blandness of youngest son Rory)

I voted for airing the completed eps, and wrapping the series with some kind of send-off. I understand that a great number of people stand to become unemployed if the show is cancelled, but this whole thing reeks of ABC desperation.

Plus, a sitcom that turns into a consistently weepy tearjerker ceases to be a sitcom.

Last edited by Pointyskull; 09-17-03 at 10:44 AM.
Old 09-17-03, 10:43 AM
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Originally posted by 12thmonkey
(to say nothing of the general blandness of youngest son Rory)

I think his character is great and very funny. 'Bland' is the last word I would use to describe the character.
Old 09-17-03, 10:44 AM
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hopefully this show doesn't turn into Roseanne.
Old 09-17-03, 10:46 AM
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Originally posted by Red Dog
I think his character is great and very funny. 'Bland' is the last word I would use to describe the character.
Maybe a poor choice of words.

I guess I meant 'bland' in that anonymous sitcom character kind of way. Enters scene, spouts off funny line, exits scene.

As I said, I really do enjoy the show, but it's just that I find his character to be the least "realistic" of the bunch. Just an opinion.

Last edited by Pointyskull; 09-17-03 at 10:49 AM.
Old 09-17-03, 10:47 AM
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Originally posted by Red Dog
I think this also demonstrates just how weak a network ABC is right now. They have very few hits, so they will resort to anything to keep one of the few hits they have alive.
Exactly. After finding out how successful the show was I had no doubt they would try to continue it. As long as John's family and the people who worked on the show aren't against continuing on then I don't see why I should have a problem with it. If you're offended then don't tune in.
Old 09-17-03, 10:47 AM
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Wrong again. Name one other character whose single goal in life is to acquire a pet monkey! Hardly bland or anonymous ... now take it back!!!

das
Old 09-17-03, 10:50 AM
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Originally posted by das Monkey
Wrong again.
Again!!!!!!!??????????

I don't hate the kid, he's just my least favorite on the show...
Old 09-17-03, 10:53 AM
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Quoth 12thmonkey <HR SIZE=1>I don't hate the kid, he's just my least favorite on the show... <HR SIZE=1>


"Again" was in reference to first calling him bland and then changing it to anonymous.

Amongst all that fine booty, of course, he'd be your least favorite family member, but do you like him less than Kyle? Or Donny?

das
Old 09-17-03, 11:00 AM
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I don't think all of the low-slung pants and tiny, tiny tops in the world worn by Kaley Cuoco could save the show without Ritter............
Old 09-17-03, 11:02 AM
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I think people will tune into the show now, for curiousity reasons. But after that, the show will die. No pun intended.

I think its a bold move though. I mean, look at 9/11...many people have had to deal with the death of their father and such, so I can understand their approach by trying to deal with real-life problems.

Still, it's tough to think the guy died. Terrible.
Old 09-17-03, 11:06 AM
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Quoth 12thmonkey <HR SIZE=1>I don't think all of the low-slung pants and tiny, tiny tops in the world worn by Kaley Cuoco could save the show without Ritter............ <HR SIZE=1>

Tell me you wouldn't sit through a commercial break for some of this:


das
Old 09-17-03, 11:17 AM
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Originally posted by das Monkey
damn...... and to think I'd almost forgotten
Old 09-17-03, 11:44 AM
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howzabout this...

air the last three Ritter eps..

follow it up with a one hour ep where his character dies..

END "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" there..

Take some time off..

Come back as an ENTIRELY different sitcom with the same cast [and someone as a male lead...Henry Winkler could work]..

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