The 54-year-old Emmy-winner died Thursday night of what's believed to be a congenital heart defect.
"We have no intention of bringing a dad back into the family at any point in the near future," ABC Entertainment president Susan Lyne said.Less than 24 hours after the beloved prime-time star was laid to rest in Los Angeles, ABC announced Ritter's 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, one of the struggling network's few modest hits, would continue minus its signature star, whose role would not be recast."Obviously, it's been a very difficult few days...[But] we decided that we are going to go forward with the show," ABC Entertainment Television Group chair Lloyd Braun told reporters in an afternoon telephone conference call.Amy Davidson ("So Little Time") played the younger sister of Kaley Cuoco ("Ladies Man" and "Charmed") on 8 Simple Rules. The day after John Ritter was buried, his TV show wasn't.8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter was a 30 minute comedy series on ABC that began as the typical mom, dad, and kids sitcom which followed the often comical trial and tribulations of family relationships and also followed the individuals into their separate lives and friendships. Prior to episode #35, "What Dad Would Want", the series had been titled, "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter".Then John Ritter ("Three's Company" and "Three's a Crowd") passed away suddenly. Due to Ritter's passing, the title was shortened to "8 Simple Rules". You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck.ABC made it clear that Ritter's befuddled dad, Paul Hennessy, would be not recast, and that the show's title would not be changed, even if the "my" in 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter referred to Ritter's character.(Braun said it's possible the show may be promoted by its less-lengthy nickname, 8 Simple Rules.) "Future episodes will take viewers into the Hennessy household as they experience the loss of a father," Braun said. We will play out the situation as real life." Given that the show heretofore was light fare, revolving around Ritter's bumbling attempts to keep his boy-magnet daughters from growing up too fast, a storyline about the wife (Katey Sagal) and kids in mourning will make 8 Simple Rules... Katey Sagal hosted the final episodes featuring John and as a further tribute to his memory, the very first episode without him, "Goodbye - Parts 1 & 2" were filmed without laugh tracks or a studio audience. He had completed filming of the first three episodes of the second season before his untimely death at 55 years of age.