8 Simple Rules

8 Simple Rules is an American sitcom television series originally starring John Ritter and Katey Sagal as middle-class parents Paul and Cate Hennessy, respectively, raising their three children. Kaley Cuoco, Amy Davidson, and Martin Spanjers co-starred as their teenage kids: Bridget, Kerry, and Rory Hennessy, respectively. The series ran on ABC from September 17, 2002 to April 15, 2005. The first season focused on Paul being left in charge of the children after Cate takes a full-time job as a nurse, with comedic emphasis on his often strict rules concerning his daughters and dating. The series' name and premise were derived from the book 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter by W. Bruce Cameron.
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, choosing to kill off his character. James Garner and David Spade later joined the main cast as, respectively, Cate's father Jim Egan and her nephew C.J. Barnes. After three seasons, ABC cancelled 8 Simple Rules in May 2005 because of low ratings.


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
  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 took a creative turn, revolving more around cousin C.J. and grandfather Jim rather than the Hennessy children. 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 series' second season had been completed when Ritter experienced discomfort during a rehearsal on the afternoon of September 11, 2003. 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. He died 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 Ritter's character. The three new episodes that Ritter had completed were aired with an introduction by Sagal.
8 Simple Rules 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 in order to fill the void left by Ritter for the remainder of the series' run.

Third season and cancellation

Before Ritter's death, 8 Simple Rules 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 series to Friday at 8:00 p.m. 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 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!. 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 because of 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 and CBS's Joan of Arcadia, which starred Ritter's son, Jason. ABC officially cancelled 8 Simple Rules in May 2005.


While the ratings for 8 Simple Rules were well above those of the surrounding TGIF shows during the show's third season, ABC canceled it because a perceived inability to sell reruns of the show into syndication.
On July 11, 2005, The WB network announced that it would air all 76 episodes of 8 Simple Rules from 4–5 p.m. as part of its replacement of Kids' WB with the Daytime WB block, aimed at a broader audience. The show 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.
On Tuesday, June 12, 2007, the show joined the ABC Family lineup, airing weekdays from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. In September 2008, the show began airing from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., continuing at that time 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 to 11:00 a.m., and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Airings have been sporadic because of 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 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, replacing The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. After a few more months of absence, 8 Simple Rules resumed on ABC Family at 7:00 p.m. ET on select weekend mornings, beginning on July 18, 2010. In mid-December 2012, 8 Simple Rules was removed from ABC Family's weekday lineup, only to be added back in September 2013. The series was removed from the network's lineup once again in 2014.
In 2003, the show began airing in the UK on the Disney Channel, with the episodes edited for a children's audience. It was picked up by ABC1, which aired it until the channel's closure in 2007. The same year, Channel 5 began airing Season 1 of the series. From 2008, all three seasons of the show were aired on 5*. The series was aired uncut on subsequent channels following its cancellation by Disney Channel. Both Channel 5 and 5* aired the series in its original widescreen format.
Danish channel TV3 and Canadian channels YTV and ABC Spark have also carried the series.
The series was shown on Irish channel RTÉ Two. Later, rights to the show were acquired by TG4, which aired the series weeknights at 5:35 p.m. The series was shown on both channels uncut, despite the early time of day, but the show was issued an age rating. On RTÉ Two, it was issued a "" rating and, on TG4, a "12" rating.
Comedy Central UK obtained the rights to the show and started airing it in the UK on June 12, 2017.
Israeli satellite provider yes has also carried the show, using its shortened title 8 Simple Rules in Hebrew.

Home media

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 the UK on September 1, 2008.
In August 2008, Lionsgate Home Entertainment announced that it had acquired the rights to the series from ABC Studios. Lionsgate subsequently released Season 2 on DVD in Region 1 on May 19, 2009.
DVD NameEp #Region 1Region 2Region 4
The Complete First Season28August 7, 2007September 1, 2008November 12, 2008
The Complete Second Season24May 19, 2009TBATBA
The Complete Third Season24TBATBATBA