Subsequent episodes dealt with the family's reaction to his death and how they moved on from it. Garner and Spade later received starring roles in order to fill the void left by Ritter for the remainder of the series' run.
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 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. 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.
There may have been only one or two commenters that guessed this, but it turns out my boss wasn’t upset. He said he shouldn’t have been talking about his daughter like that at work and he didn’t realize how his comment about me sounded until I reacted like that. I wrote back to this letter-writer and said, “Thank you for this update, and for your good grace about the comments!
Then I apologized and told him that I was completely in the wrong to insinuate that about his daughter. He said he understood where that comment came from and that (remarkably) he didn’t take it personally. Thankfully, no other coworkers were within earshot (this happened in a conference room while waiting for some other coworkers to join us), and I don’t work with clients or customers anyway. I thought the word was normal and commonly used, because that’s how it was at home (the exact quote I blurted out was screamed at me countless times at home and I was called a whore several times a day by my teachers). To all of those saying my behavior is not Christian or that I am not a “true Christian”: I am well aware that Jesus was a friend of prostitutes, but Jesus is not all there is to Christianity. Also, I just wanted to say, I did not feel attacked at all by the comments. It appears some commenters think criticism of Christianity is an “attack” or “bashing,” but this is not so. I’m sorry you had that word screamed at you ever, let alone so frequently — that’s horrible and must have been a very difficult way to grow up.” She replied: “It was a difficult way to grow up *at the time*, but it kept me in line, and thus led me to become a better adult. (But we’ll probably disagree on that.)” While I do indeed disagree, I am deeply impressed with letter-writers who handle disagreement from a mob of strangers with this much grace.
It was the first time I had been upset with anyone famous dieing, because I felt I was connected with the show.