Discover the most popular TV show the year you were born

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American actors John Ritter (1948 – 2003) and Richard Kline share a laugh in a still from the television series, ‘Three’s Company’, circa 1970s. (Photo by ABC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

1979: Three’s Company

Three’s Company was a sitcom that aired on ABC (where else?) for eight seasons from 1977 to 1984. The show revolved around three roommates, Janet, Chrissy, and Jack, who all platonically lived together in California. Overbearing landlord Mr. Roper doesn’t like the idea of a co-ed living situation in his apartment complex, so Chrissy and Janet convince him that Jack is gay. The show chronicled their daily hijinks and the constant misunderstandings — usually with lots of innuendoes — that led to big laughs from the audience.

The network did not have a lot of faith in Three’s Company when it first premiered as midseason replacement in the spring. Critics thought the show would be canceled after its original six-episode run, but the show received record ratings, and became the highest-rated midseason show in network television history. It was renewed for a formal television season, soon becoming a staple in television for years to come. In 1979, the show reached the top of the Nielsen ratings charts, and remained in the top ten until the eighth and final season, when it dropped to the 33rd spot.

Both John Ritter (Jack) and Norman Fell (Mr. Roper) won Golden Globes for their roles on the show, and Ritter also brought home an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 1984. Both Suzanne Somers (Chrissy) and Audra Lindley (Mrs. Roper) were nominated for Golden Globes, but never won.