10 Big Names Who Appeared on the Sitcom
After John Ritter left Three’s Company behind and Katey Sagal was no longer Married… With Children, but before Kaley Cuoco discovered The Big Bang Theory and David Spade learned the Rules of Engagement, those comedy TV stars aligned for ABC’s 8 Simple Rules.
The sitcom, originally titled 8 Simple Rules… For Dating My Teenage Daughter, premiered on September 17, 2002, starring Ritter as overprotective dad Paul Hennessy, Sagal playing even-tempered mom Cate Hennessy, and Cuoco as Bridget, one of three Hennessy kids.
After Ritter died unexpectedly in 2003, Spade joined the main cast playing Cate’s nephew C.J., as did The Rockford Files’ James Garner, who played Cate’s father, Jim.
8 Simple Rules got a tepid reception from TV critics, who called it “fairly likable in a bland sort of way” and “on the verge of funny now and then.” (“On television as in life, dads would be more successful if they had better writers,” quipped The New York Times’ Ron Wertheimer in one review.) But viewers took a liking to it, even awarding 8 Simple Rules’ first season a People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Comedy and a Teen Choice Award for Choice Breakout TV Show.
As we mark 8 Simple Rules’ 20th anniversary, scroll down to see some of the show’s big-name guest stars — including the ones who staged TV reunions on the show.