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's Joan of Arcadia (4.9/10), which starred Ritter's son, Jason.After the novelty of newly added ensemble characters wore off, the series returned to its original format.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, and he died that evening at the age of 54.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.
James Garner and David Spade later joined the main cast as Cate's father and nephew, Jim Egan and C. Barnes, in an attempt to fill the void left by Ritter.
Kaley Cuoco, Amy Davidson and Martin Spanjers co-starred as their teenage kids; Bridget, Kerry and Rory Hennessy.
The series ran on ABC from September 17, 2002 to April 15, 2005.
Following Ritter's death, ABC announced that 8 Simple Rules would continue after a hiatus, and would incorporate the death of his character.
The three new episodes that Ritter completed were aired with Sagal introducing them.