Suzanne Somers was fired from ‘Three’s Company’ for asking for equal pay with her male co-star, John Ritter, who was earning five times her salary.

Suzanne Somers Was Fired From ‘Three’s Company’ for Asking for Equal Pay

Every episode of Three’s Company centered around a misunderstanding, but Suzanne Somers’ sudden departure from the show was a real discrepancy that network executives were unwilling to fix.

When the sitcom debuted on March 15, 1977, it was a mid-season show with only six episodes, but the lovable dynamics between the titular three roommates — John Ritter as Jack Tripper, Joyce DeWitt as Janet Wood and Somers as Chrissy Snow — quickly became a mainstay of the Nielsen Top 10 shows. The fictional comedic antics in apartment 201 also catapulted the young stars into real-life fame, with Somers gracing the covers of numerous magazines.

In 1980, the actress was seemingly at the top of her game and she knew her worth. When it came time for … Continue Reading (5 minute read)

15 thoughts on “Suzanne Somers was fired from ‘Three’s Company’ for asking for equal pay with her male co-star, John Ritter, who was earning five times her salary.”

  1. wjbc

    This is why the cast of Friends agreed to negotiate as a group. They could have fired one of them, but not all of them. David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston took a loss to make it happen for the other four. But in the long run it paid off for them as well, creating a stable environment, long term success for the show, and hefty syndication payments.

  2. windingtime

    One time you could accidentally see John Ritter’s balls in one episode and they didn’t find out until like 2006.

  3. MasterBlogroll

    >“The show’s response was, ‘Who do you think you are?’” the actress told [*People*]( “They said, ‘John Ritter is the star.’”
    >When Somers first signed on to the show, she agreed to a [$3,500 a week salary]( to play the bubbly Chrissy. As the show gained traction, her salary climbed and soon she was making $30,000 a week. 
    > So her husband, former television producer Alan Hamel, went to negotiate for her, asking for $150,000 a week, which was the average that men were earning on television at the time, and on par with what her costar Ritter was making.

  4. hikermick

    This show was pretty risque at the time. A guy and girls living together, a pretend gay man, lots of sexual innuendo. Maybe it’s just my perspective at the time, I was only nine and not allowed to watch. Funny how now it seems so tame compared to other stuff on TV.

  5. TerpBE

    It turned out it was all a misunderstanding.

  6. semifraki

    This reminds me of the Paul Riser/Helen Hunt equal pay story from Mad About You. Riser and Hunt insisted that they be paid equally, and had it written into their contracts, which was very progressive, even in the 90s. Helen went off and won an oscar for “As Good As It Gets” and her agent negotiated a big pay raise, since now the show starred “academy award winning Helen Hunt”. Because of the equal pay clause in their contract, Paul Riser got a big pay bump as well without having to win an oscar OR have his agent negotiate!

  7. Pretty-Vehicle-6338

    On the flipside, Leonard Nimoy threatened to walk from “Star Trek” unless Nichelle Nichols got a raise on par with the rest of the cast, and Ed O’ Neal threatened to walk away from “Married With Children” unless Fox started leaving Christina Applegate alone. They where pressuring her to lose more weight when she was already suffering from a eating disorder. Nichols got a raise, and Fox backed off Applegate.

  8. Baron_Rogue

    i love that the takeaway here is that Friends negotiated as friends

  9. DarbyDown

    Every episode revolved around a misunderstanding. There was endless joking about sex.

    It was dumb but everyone watched it.

  10. readerf52

    I wonder how much John Ritter got paid to be the voice of Clifford, the big red dog…

  11. dutchy412

    This was before my time but wasn’t John Ritter the star of the show?

  12. LodgePoleMurphy

    Back in the 1970’s characters would get fired off TV shows almost every time they asked for more money.

  13. EddyGurge

    To me, yeah I’m old, that show was John Ritter and others. R.I.P. John. You are truly missed.

  14. dk_jr

    She was just waiting for the other ball to drop

  15. curiosity0425

    Now that’s a show I’d love to binge on Netflix or Hulu

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