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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.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.
On October 3, 2009, 8 Simple Rules returned to ABC Family, having been absent for a year, airing on Saturdays from am to am, and Sundays at a.m.- pm Airings have been sporadic due to the channel's unpredictable movie schedule and holiday programming block.The three new episodes that Ritter completed were aired with Sagal introducing them.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.On February 8, 2010, the series was added back to ABC Family's weekday lineup, airing from 6-7PM/ET, replacing The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
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.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.