9 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Three’s Company’
7. What Could Have Been
Casting the leads for the Three’s Company was one of the toughest parts in finally getting the series accepted by ABC. After the failed first pilot attempt by Peter Stone, Ritter was cast in the second pilot penned by Don Nicholl, Michael Ross and Bernie West, although Billy Crystal, Barry Van Dyke and Michael Lembeck all auditioned for the role before it was given to Ritter. Many actresses were also tested out in the pilots before Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Somers made the cut. Valerie Curtin and Suzanne Zenor were both cast as the two female leads in the first pilot. The second pilot finally saw Joyce DeWitt cast, but Susan Lanier was brought in as the second female star. With the only doubt still surrounded Lanier’s part, eventually producers found Suzanne Somers and put her in the role right away.
6. The Ropers
After three seasons of Three’s Company, Audra Lindley and Norman Fell had gained a fanbase all their own as Helen and Stanley Roper. Due to their positive reception, ABC offered them their own spin-off, but Fell was uneasy about it and preferred to stay on Three’s Company. After six months he gave in, and ABC promised him that if the spin-off, The Ropers, failed after one season they would be brought back to the original series. Unfortunately after a successful first season, The Ropers ratings dropped so much it was cancelled in its second season and because it technically lasted one and a half seasons, the pair were not brought back to Three’s Company.