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The same year, Channel 5 began airing the series, in which season one only aired, then from 2008, was shown on 5*, which aired all three seasons.
The third-season finale was not aired for May sweeps.
After Ritter's death, it had slipped to 50th, but was renewed for a third season, in which ABC moved the series to Friday at pm as part of its TGIF comedy line-up.
The series' creator and showrunner, Tracy Gamble, left the series for a time over creative differences prior to the third season, but he later returned as a consulting producer midway through the third season. Even before the third-season finale's airing, rumors began circulating that 8 Simple Rules was facing cancellation due to Ritter's death and poor ratings.
Crew members took him to a nearby hospital, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, where he was misdiagnosed as having a heart attack and as a result, his condition had worsened when physicians later diagnosed him with an aortic dissection, and he passed away that evening at the age of 54.
Following Ritter's death, ABC announced that 8 Simple Rules would continue after a hiatus, and would incorporate the death of his character.
James Garner and David Spade later joined the main cast as, respectively, Cate's father Jim Egan and her nephew C. 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 kids.
After the novelty of newly added ensemble characters wore off, the series returned to its original format.Subsequent episodes dealt with the family's reaction to his death and how they moved on from it. Garner and Spade later received starring roles in order to fill the void left by Ritter for the remainder of the series' run.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, C. Before Ritter's death, 8 Simple Rules ranked 42nd in the Nielsen ratings.The series' name and premise were derived from the book 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter by W. While 8 Simple Rules was renewed for a second season and production had begun, Ritter's sudden death in September 2003 left the series in an uncertain position.After a hiatus, the series returned and continued without Ritter, with the producers having decided that his character Paul would also die. After three seasons, ABC cancelled 8 Simple Rules in May 2005 due to low ratings.On February 8, 2010, the series was added back to ABC Family's weekday lineup, airing from 6-7PM/ET, replacing The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.