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.
After a hiatus, the series returned and continued without Ritter, with the producers having decided that his character Paul would also die. After three seasons, ABC cancelled 8 Simple Rules in May 2005 due to low ratings.
James Garner and David Spade later joined the main cast as, respectively, Cate's father Jim Egan and her nephew C. The third season (after Ritter's death) took a creative turn, revolving more around cousin C. (David Spade) and grandfather Jim (James Garner), than the immediate Hennessy family, more specifically not revolving around the raising of the Hennessy kids.
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.
It 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.