Synopsis by Tracie Cooper
Despite the failure of its pilots -- and there were two of them -- Three's Company was nonetheless picked up by ABC in January of 1977. Not only would the show become a staple of prime-time programming, it also earned the prestige of being the highest-rated midseason sitcom of its era. The plot revolved around Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt) and Chrissy Snow's (Suzanne Somers) decision to allow Jack Tripper (John Ritter), a student at a local cooking school, to move into their apartment. Inconveniently, however, their conservative landlords, Stanley (Norman Fell) and Helen Roper (Audra Lindley), wouldn't dream of allowing a bachelor to live with two young, unmarried women. To get around this, Jack pretended he was a homosexual (a trait that Mr. Roper would test on occasion) and was allowed to live with the women provided he never "converted" to heterosexuality or made any type of sexual advance toward them. When the Ropers moved to a townhouse community, their landlord duties were taken over by Mr. Furley (Don Knotts). Though the premise was successful enough to carry Three's Company through eight seasons, the cast of the show, particularly Ritter and Somers, became famously estranged after Somers requested that her paycheck of 30,000 dollars per episode be raised to a then-unheard-of amount of 125,000 dollars. When the producers refused, Somers promptly began spending less time on the set -- consequently, the ratings declined. To combat the problem, Cindy Snow (Jennilee Harrison) joined the cast as Chrissy's cousin (though her character left to attend veterinary school), and Somers was fired just before the sixth season. Of course, this triggered the need for a new roommate -- enter Terri Alden (Priscilla Barnes), an equally blonde and substantially less ditzy female who worked as a nurse at a neighboring hospital. Terri's character remained on the show until its cancellation three years later; however, the producers did create a less successful spin-off titled Three's a Crowd.