8 Simple Rules

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter
Also known as 8 Simple Rules (season 3)
Created by Tracy Gamble
Starring John Ritter
Katey Sagal
Kaley Cuoco
Amy Davidson
Martin Spanjers
James Garner
David Spade
Theme music composer Dan Foliart
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 76 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Tom Shadyac
Michael Bostick (entire run)
Tracy Gamble (seasons 1–2)
Flody Suarez (seasons 1–2)
James Widdoes (seasons 2–3)
Judd Pillot
John Peaslee (season 3)
Camera setup Film; Multi-camera
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Shady Acres Entertainment
Touchstone Television (entire run)
FlodyCo (seasons 1–2)
Tracy Gamble Productions
(season 2)
Distributor Disney-ABC Domestic Television
(U.S. syndication)
Disney-ABC International Television
(international syndication)
Original network ABC
Picture format 16:9
480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Original release September 17, 2002 (2002-09-17) – April 15, 2005 (2005-04-15)

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. 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. Bruce Cameron.[1]


The rules are:

  1. Use your hands on my daughter and you'll lose them after.
  2. You make her cry, I make you cry.
  3. Safe sex is a myth. Anything you try will be hazardous to your health.
  4. Bring her home late, there's no next date.
  5. If you pull into my driveway and honk, you better be dropping off a package because you're sure not picking anything up (Alternative rule #5: Only delivery men honk. Dates ring the doorbell. Once.)
  6. No complaining while you're waiting for her. If you're bored, change my oil.
  7. If your pants hang off your hips, I'll gladly secure them with my staple gun.
  8. Dates must be in crowded public places. You want romance? Read a book.

The third season (after Ritter's death) took a creative turn, revolving more around cousin C.J. (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.


Ritter's death

The first three episodes of the show's second season had been completed when Ritter reportedly suffered an undiagnosed 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.[2] Following Ritter's death, ABC announced that the show would continue after a hiatus, and would incorporate the death of Ritter's character. The three new episodes that Ritter completed were aired with Sagal introducing them.

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, C.J. Barnes. Garner and Spade later received starring roles as Ritter's replacement for the rest of the show's broadcast.

Third season and cancellation

Before Ritter's death, the show ranked 42nd in the Nielsen ratings. After Ritter's death, it had slipped to 50th, but was renewed for a third season, in which ABC moved the show to Friday at 8:00 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. 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!.[3] The series plunged to 94th in the ratings. 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 Friday night "death slot" ratings took their toll on 8 Simple Rules. The third-season finale was not aired for May sweeps. The finale received a 3.9/8 rating share which gave ABC a third-place finish behind NBC's Dateline (5.8/11) and CBS' Joan of Arcadia (4.9/10), which starred Ritter's son, Jason. Shortly afterwards, ABC officially cancelled 8 Simple Rules in 2005.[4]


Main characters

Other characters



Season Episodes Premiere Season finale US-American ratings
1 2002–2003 28 September 17, 2002 May 20, 2003 10.9 million (46th place)[7]
2 2003–2004 24 September 23, 2003 May 18, 2004 10.0 million (50th place)[8]
3 2004–2005 24 September 24, 2004 April 15, 2005 6.8 million (90th place)[9]


While 8 Simple Rules ratings were well above those of the surrounding TGIF shows during its third season, ABC cancelled it due to the perceived inability to sell reruns of the show into syndication (a fourth season would have given the show the 100 episodes necessary to enter daily syndication).

On July 11, 2005 (less than two months after ABC officially cancelled it), The WB network announced it would air back-to-back repeats of all 76 episodes of 8 Simple Rules from 4–5 p.m. as part of the replacement of Kids' WB with the more broad-audience Daytime WB block. It aired weekdays from January 2, 2006 to September 15, 2006 when it was replaced by Reba upon the merger of UPN and The WB into The CW.[10]

On Tuesday, June 12, 2007, the show joined the ABC Family line-up, airing weekdays from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm Then in September 2008, the show started airing from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm, until October 10, 2008. On October 3, 2009, 8 Simple Rules returned to ABC Family, having been absent for a year, airing on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 11:00 am, and Sundays at 11:00 a.m.-12:00 pm[11] Airings have been sporadic due to the channel's unpredictable movie schedule and holiday programming block. 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. After a few months of being absent on the channel, 8 Simple Rules resumed airings on ABC Family at 7/6 c on select weekend mornings, beginning July 18, 2010. In mid-December 2012, 8 Simple Rules was removed from ABC Family's weekday line-up, only to be added back in September 2013.

In 2003, the show began airing in the UK on the Disney Channel, which was edited for children's viewing.[12] It was picked up by ABC1 which aired the show until the channel's closure in 2007. 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.[13] The series was aired uncut on subsequent channels following its cancellation by Disney Channel. Both Channel 5 and 5* aired the series in its originally-produced widescreen format.

Danish channel TV3 and the Canadian channels YTV and ABC Spark (the Canadian version of ABC Family) also have carried the series.

The series was shown on Irish channel RTÉ Two, then later, rights to the show were acquired by TG4, which aired the series weeknights at 5.35 pm. The series was shown on both these channels full uncut, despite the fact it was shown pre-watershed (9.00 pm), although, the show was issued an age rating. On RTÉ Two it was issued a 'PS' rating and on TG4, a '12' rating.

DVD releases

On August 7, 2007, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released Season 1 of 8 Simple Rules on DVD in Region 1. Season 1 was released in Britain on September 1, 2008.[14]

In August 2008, Lionsgate Home Entertainment announced that they had acquired the rights to the series from ABC Studios. They subsequently released Season 2 on DVD in Region 1 on May 19, 2009.[15]

DVD NameEp #Region 1Region 2Region 4
The Complete First Season 28 August 7, 2007 September 1, 2008 November 12, 2008[16]
The Complete Second Season 24 May 19, 2009 TBA TBA
The Complete Third Season 24 TBA TBA TBA


Award Category Recipient Result Ref(s)
56th Primetime Emmy Awards Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series Bruce L. Finn Won [17]
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series John Ritter (posthumously) Nominated


  1. "John Ritter". CBS News. Page 1 of 17. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  2. http://www.biography.com/people/john-ritter-9542508
  3. Snauffer, Douglas (2008). The Show Must Go On: How the Deaths of Lead Actors Have Affected Television Series. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-7864-3295-0.
  4. http://tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/8-simple-rules-for-dating-my-teenage-daughter-last-episode/
  5. "Drummer Boy (part 2)". 8 Simple Rules. Season 1. Episode 18. 2003-02-11. ABC.
  6. "Sex Ed". 8 Simple Rules. Season 2. Episode 2. 2003-09-30. ABC.
  7. "Nielsen's TOP 156 Shows for 2002–03 Retrieved July 29, 2008.
  8. "2003–2004 TV Ratings Retrieved July 29, 2008.
  9. "2004–2005 TV Ratings Retrieved July 29, 2008.
  10. The Futon Critic
  11. ABC Family October 2009
  12. "8 Simple Rules... for dating my teenage daughter". disney.co.uk. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  13. "Fiver to air 8 Simple Rules". the8rules.co.uk. April 21, 2008. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  14. Listing at Amazon.uk
  15. Season 2 on DVD at TV Shows on DVD
  16. "8 Simple Rules – Complete Season 1 (3 Disc Set)". Mighty Ape.
  17. 8 Simple Rules at emmys.com

External links

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