Brian Bellmont, apropos the sudden death of actor John Ritter, has an interesting piece on the uncomfortable business question that arises in situations like these: What to do with a television program that loses a major character. The article reminds us that this situation is much more common than one would think, although most of the other examples were supporting characters on an ensemble show.

Ritter’s latest show was on opposite CBS’ JAG, which I’ve been watching since its debut, with reruns during baseball season, so I only caught a couple of episodes and don’t have a good feel for the show. But it was clearly his show and, indeed, the titular premise is a dad dealing with the maturation of a pretty young daughter. I don’t see how he can be replaced.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. jen says:

    I watched about half of the season of [i]8 Simple Rules…[/i] – they can’t replace John Ritter. You’re correct that it was his show. I think those folks will be looking for jobs, sadly.

  2. Mario says:

    You forget the show “Valerie.” Valerie Harper not only left early on, but the show was even named after her. The show continued relatively successfully for the next few years as “The Hogan Family.”

  3. James Joyner says:

    I did forget that show. Indeed, it carried on longer without her that with her. See: