After Ritter's death, it had slipped to 50th, but was renewed for a third season, in which ABC moved the show to Friday night at pm as part of its TGIF comedy line-up.The series' creator and show-runner, 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.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.Gamble was replaced by Judd Pillot and John Peaslee, who had performed the same role in the final season of Spade's sitcom, Just Shoot Me! The Friday night "death slot" ratings took their toll on 8 Simple Rules.
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A direct to DVD movie, Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, was also released and it was later re-edited for television and aired as three episodes: "Stewie B.
Goode", "Bango Was His Name Oh", and "Stu & Stewie's Excellent Adventure".
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 them moving on from it.