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.
Season 3, Episode 24April 15, 2005In the third-season finale, Cate announces that she's dating Ed (Adam Arkin).
It's also the school's “ditch day,” when kids skip classes.
Season 3, Episode 21March 4, 2005After refusing Bridget's request to have an after-prom party at a hotel, Cate upsets her by throwing a house party at the Hennessys.
reunites with his dad (Danny Woodburn), a motivational speaker, but is chagrined to learn the real reason for his father's visit. Season 3, Episode 17January 28, 2005Kerry's volleyball games all seem to end up disorderly, thanks to Cate.
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 girls.
Kaley Cuoco, Amy Davidson, and Martin Spanjers co-starred as their teenage kids; Bridget, Kerry, and Rory Hennessy.
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.
The first four post-Ritter episodes were shot without a live audience with James Garner and Suzanne Pleshette guest-starring as Cate's strict parents and David Spade guest-starring as Cate's wayward nephew, C. Before Ritter's death, 8 Simple Rules ranked 42nd in the Nielsen ratings.
Crew members took him to a nearby hospital, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, where he was misdiagnosed as having a heart attack and as a result, his condition had worsened when physicians later diagnosed him with an aortic dissection, and he died that evening at the age of 54.
Following Ritter's death, ABC announced that 8 Simple Rules would continue after a hiatus, and would incorporate the death of his character.