Three’s Company is the beloved 70’s American sitcom that aired for eight seasons on the ABC network from 1977 to 1984. The show is known not only for starring classic actors and actresses like John Ritter, Susanne Sommers, and Joyce Dewitt, but also for pulling back the curtain on what was then thought of as taboo by placing a gay man living with two sexy single women roommates front and center on television screens all across the country.
But despite the arguably controversial and taboo material, the show practically became an instant hit. Just like that, the name Three’s Company became a household name in homes across the nation, and the sitcom’s three main characters basically became the poster children of “Jiggle TV” and escapist television that wasn’t afraid of exploring and deconstructing gender and sexual taboos that no network or television show dared try before.
Now, the entire behind the scenes story of Three’s Company is being brought to televisions everywhere once again in REELZ’s upcoming special documentary Three’s Company: The Unknown Story, and Radar is here with your very own extensive and exclusive very first look at the cant miss special.
“You didn’t really talk about gay or gay issues so it was one area where Three’s Company was a little bit edgy,” says TV Historian Jim Colucci, who is one of the many people featured in the documentary.
“The landlord didn’t actually care that Jack was gay, he just didn’t want a gentleman in the house having pre-marital sex,” adds Rob Shuter, the host of the Naughty But Nice Podcast and who is also featured throughout the special.
But despite having modest acting careers of their own before landing the three lead roles of the hit sitcom, Three’s Company: The Unknown Story argues – rather correctly – that it was the on-screen comedy between the trio that made superstars out of Ritter, Sommers and Dewitt.
“People forget what a talented physical actor John Ritter was,” says Tom Kelly, a well-known comedian in his own right who was interviewed for the documentary.
“Susan Sommers became the breakout star of the show,” Shuter adds later in the special.
“Joyce Dewitt as ‘Janet’ is a comedic genius,” adds Danko Jones of The Regal Beagle Podcast.
But although the main trio were truly beloved by audiences everywhere, it wasn’t long before things took a dramatic turn for the worse. The documentary does a great job exploring why Suzanne Somers – who was as famous as Ritter – felt obligated to make a sudden and controversial exit from the prime time hit show.
“She went in and she asked for a huge increase in salary, she wanted to be earning exactly the same as her male co-star,” Shuter recalls.
“ABC told her to go take a hike,” historian Colucci, says.
If you think all of this is interesting, just wait until you find out how much more there is to learn in Three’s Company: The Unknown Story which is scheduled to premiere on Saturday, March 5th at 8ET/PT on REELZ.
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