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The series ran on ABC from September 17, 2002 to April 15, 2005.
The first season focused on Paul being left in charge of the kids after Cate takes a full-time job as a nurse, with comedic emphasis on his often strict rules concerning his daughters and dating.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 series was shown on Irish channel RTÉ Two, then later, rights to the show were acquired by TG4, which aired the series weeknights at 5.35 pm.
The series was shown on both these channels full uncut, despite the fact it was shown pre-watershed (9.00 pm), although, the show was issued an age rating.
In 2003, the show began airing in the UK on the Disney Channel, which was edited for children's viewing.
It was picked up by ABC1 which aired the show until the channel's closure in 2007.