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Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Three's Company' (2003)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama, Comedy  |  5 May 2003 (USA)
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Reviews: 31 user | 1 critic

An insider's look at the unfunny side of comedic success on network television.



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Title: Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Three's Company' (TV Movie 2003)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joyce DeWitt (as Melanie Deanne Moore)
Michael David Simms ...
Barbara Gordon ...
Herself - Host
Alpha Beta director
Terence Kelly ...


'Three's Company', the comedy centered on two attractive, young women who made the rent on their Santa Monica beach-side apartment by taking in a third roommate - a male forced to pretend he's gay to fool the landlords and the girls' parents. The series rocketed in the ratings as an instant hit - despite the outcry of critics and moralists - who objected to the double-entendres and quasi-sexual hijinks on the show. However, the true behind-the-scenes story of 'Three's Company' will expose a once idyllic workplace that deteriorated into a battleground beset by business dealings, contact disputes, cast rivalries, clashes between producers and network executives and finally, a round of cast replacements which hastened the demise of the show. Written by PB

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Jealousy. Deception. Betrayal. Welcome to America's favorite comedy.


Drama | Comedy





Release Date:

5 May 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vivre à trois: Derrière la caméra  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Because 'Three's Company' was an ABC show, and this movie aired on NBC, many details had to be changed in order to avoid legal issues. See more »


Chrissy's hairstyle before, during, and after the "Turkey" episode taping. See more »


Jay Bernstein: You wanna smoke me, give it your best shot.
See more »


References The Waverly Wonders (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

Very Serious Behind the Scenes Business
27 May 2003 | by (Waterford, MI) – See all my reviews

It is sobering to see that a show that exemplified the mindless, 70s sex revolution with it's, at the time, envelope pushing innuendo and double entendres, was fraught with deception, greed and betrayal behind the scenes.

The actors chosen to portray the various performers of "Three's Company" are very good, most notably the ones chosen to portray John Ritter/Jack Tripper and Joyce DeWitt/Janet Wood. The actress who played Suzanne Sommers/Chrissy Snow did a wonderful job playing the conflicted yet easily swayed by her husband star who ends up becoming a pariah of the set of the show after unreasonable contractual demands and skipping out on tapings. The performances of the network brass, show's producers, and Sommer's husband, Alan Hamel are excellent also. The supporting cast, the Roepers, Mr. Furley and Cyndi Snow, are also represented. Priscilla Barnes/Teri is merely an extra with no lines and Larry is nowhere to be found. It would be interesting to see how the rest of the cast and crew were affected by the contractual warfare that became very personal between Sommers and the producers. Joyce DeWitt took on a role as a producer of this film and narrates the film. Although this was not necessary, I suppose it lent a bit of authority since DeWitt was obviously there when all of these things were happening. But one wonders if this also could mean that the movie is slanted by representing DeWitt as the Saint who is just doing her job who gets wronged by Sommers, the Producers and Ritter who keeps plans of him getting a spinoff that doesn't include Janet from her. But the facts speak for themselves and one can see that this could all be very well true.

One can say that Sommers is painted in a bad light but it does evoke sympathy for her when she begins to wonder if she has gone too far and is killing her career but is easily sold on the idea by her slick talking husband who is an unsuccessful actor who's claim to fame are local supermarket commercials. Sommers quickness to believe this man is revealed when she talks about humiliating herself early in her career to help pay her son's hospital costs by dressing as a squirrel and passing out nuts and when she says that she wanted to become the next Farrah not Liberace in one of the films funnier (unintentionally lines). Ritter is portrayed as a nice guy who loses patience with Sommers antics but also as a passive, milquetoast who gives in too easily to the producers' offer of his own spinoff at the expense of the other cast members.

The bottom line is that what energy or magic the series had early on in it's run, was spoiled by the lack of appreciation for the actors by the producers, avarice of Sommers and "her people," Alan Hamel and the constant tinkering that was designed to spite Sommers. In the end, everyone seemed to lose and seems embittered by the whole experience. Ritter and Sommers did not seem to want part of this project and DeWitt seems to be gritting her teeth to this day in the segments where she narrates the goings on.

All in all, this is one of the more interesting, well made TV movies about a TV show because it deals with what made the show work and ultimately what ruined it, the best and worst of human nature.

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