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.
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.
Paul, frustrated by the whole thing, dozes off and dream Kyle is Jack Tripper, his daughters are Janet and Chrissy, He and Cate are the Ropers with Rory is Larry from Three's Company. Kerry is anti-ditch day, and tries to make ditch day a normal day of learning, to what turns out to be a complete bust.
Cate awaits the results of her pregnancy test while Bridget struggles with her long distance relationship with Donny Doyle. When Kerry puts on the prank in her sister's place, she ends up realizing she really has been a goody-two-shoes.
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 that afternoon, crew members took him to a nearby Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, where he suddenly died that night following a misdiagnosis of a heart attack.
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.Paul and Kerry go for a father-and-daughter's night out at the movies but it soon turns into an awkward situation when the movie gets a little graphic. Rory has reached the age of regular self-pleasuring. to let Cheryl attend his classes in preparation for her upcoming final exams to get a GED certificate. Jim remembers telling Cate to stay away from the guy. Cate confides in Bridget, who's shocked to learn that Kerry is keeping in touch with Bruno - without telling her! To everyones surprise, their date goes well and they start seeing each other. She then mentions at home that she's decided to throw the after party at a hotel and asks her mom to book a room, but Cate forbids her to even take part in any after party. Cate starts teaching Sex Ed at Bridget's high school and upon receiving a letter from a "new" girl who is contemplating having sex with her long-distance boyfriend, Cate goes on the defensive. a Christmas photo from when she was 10 years old and succeeds in changing his mind. Rory surprises everyone with the revelation that he has a rich girlfriend. A stunning younger woman is hanging around with principal Gibb. Gibb wants to make sure Cate is not uncomfortable about him dating Cheryl. Cate is afraid Kerry will get hurt again and wants to ask her if she's going to meet Bruno again, but Bridget convinces her that she should give Kerry some privacy. Kerry has published a pro-lesbian article in the school paper, gets asked to the prom by a lesbian girl. The first four post-Ritter episodes were shot without a live audience with James Garner and Suzanne Pleshette guest-starred as Cate's strict parents and David Spade guest-starred as Cate's wayward nephew, C. Garner and Spade later received starring roles as Ritter's replacement for the rest of the show's broadcast.Before Ritter's death, the show ranked 42nd in the Nielsen ratings.James Garner and David Spade joined the cast afterward.