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The first three episodes of the show's second season had been completed when Ritter reportedly suffered an un-diagnosed aortic dissection.After Ritter had experienced discomfort during his rehearsal of the show in the afternoon of September 11, 2003, crew members took him to a nearby hospital where he suddenly died that night following a misdiagnosis of a heart attack.
James Garner and David Spade joined the cast afterward.
ABC cancelled the series on May 17, 2005 after three seasons because of low ratings.
The show's premise and title were derived from the book 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter: And other tips from a beleaguered father (not that any of them work) by W. The third season (after Ritter's death) took a creative turn, revolving more around cousin C. (David Spade) and grandfather Jim (James Garner), than the immediate Hennessy family, more specifically not revolving around the raising of the Hennessy girls.
After the novelty of newly added ensemble characters wore off, the series returned to its original format.
The show returned two months after Ritter's death, with a one-hour episode, "Goodbye", which was turned into a tribute to Ritter's character.
Subsequent episodes dealt with the family's reaction to his death and how they moved on from it.The first four post-Ritter episodes were shot without a live audience with James Garner and Suzanne Pleshette guest-starring as Cate's strict parents and David Spade guest-starring as Cate's wayward nephew, CJ. Garner and Spade later received starring roles as Ritter's replacement for the rest of the show's broadcast.8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter (also known as 8 Simple Rules for the third and final season) is an American sitcom, originally starring John Ritter and Katey Sagal.It debuted on ABC on September 17, 2002, and concluded on April 15, 2005.Ritter's character in the series was not replaced following his death on September 11, 2003.After entering a hiatus, the series continued without Ritter, incorporating the death of his character.