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

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


Jason Ensler


Elisa Bell




Cast overview, first billed only:
Melanie Paxson ... Joyce DeWitt (as Melanie Deanne Moore)
Bret Anthony Bret Anthony ... John Ritter
Jud Tylor ... Suzanne Somers
Brian Dennehy ... Fred Silverman
Wallace Langham ... Jay
Daniel Roebuck ... Ted Bergman
Michael David Simms Michael David Simms ... Don Taffner
Gregg Binkley ... Don Knotts
Barbara Gordon Barbara Gordon ... Audra Lindley
Joyce DeWitt ... Herself - Hostess
Rick Skene ... Alpha Beta director
Terence Kelly ... Norman Fell
Christopher Shyer ... Alan Hamel
Gary Hudson ... Tony Thomopolous
David Lewis ... Ira Denmark


'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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

5 May 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vivre à trois: Derrière la caméra See more »

Filming Locations:

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Although an actor was hired to portray Larry Dallas/Richard Kline, he never appeared in the movie. See more »


In a scene depicted on November 20, 1980, while Suzanne is being escorted out the studio after filming her first "Chrissy tag," she walks by a group of women standing in line waiting to audition for the role of Cindy Snow. Among them is Jenilee Harrison who was ultimately cast in the role. Later, in a scene depicted in early 1981, Jenilee is seen leaving the green room wearing the same wardrobe she had on at her audition. See more »


Joyce DeWitt - Host: Every time we did it was sure ecstasy.
Joyce DeWitt - Host: We would go out there to shoot the show and no matter what happened during the week, no matter how challenging it was to get the show ready, no matter how difficult the stuff that might have been going down at the time in the business part of life.
Joyce DeWitt - Host: Every time we did that show, curtain up, light the lights.
Joyce DeWitt - Host: We're out there in front of the audience it was sure ecstasy.
Joyce DeWitt - Host: It was like being shot out of a canon at Disneyland.
Joyce DeWitt - Host: Every single time, every single time.
Joyce DeWitt - Host:
Joyce DeWitt - Host:
See more »


References The Waltons (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

Astonishing Lead Actors
15 May 2003 | by sddavis63See all my reviews

I always enjoyed the TV series "Three's Company" and was familiar with some of the behind the scenes controversy about it and decided that I had to watch this TV movie when I heard it was coming out. Overall, I was not disappointed.

I don't think anyone could watch this movie without being astonished by the performances of Bret Anthony, Melanie Deanne Moore and Judy Tyler as John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Somers. They were completely convincing and believable in these parts. You could almost reshoot the series with these three and it would take a while to realize that it wasn't Ritter, DeWitt and Somers. Even the supporting cast (Gregg Brinkley, Barbara Gordon and Terence Kelly as Don Knotts, Audra Lindley and Norman Fell) slipped perfectly into their roles. The account of how the show fell apart as Somers and particularly her husband Alan Hamel decided to push the rest of the cast aside to make way for her stardom felt real, and there were even moments of sympathy for Somers as the definite impression is given that she never intended things to go this far - it was "her people" and her husband and not her. It's very entertaining.

Not perfect, mind you. I thought the whole thing had too much of a pro-Joyce DeWitt feel to it. She was always the innocent one getting hurt - first by Somers, then by Ritter as he hides the fact that the show is about to be cancelled and his character spun off. It would be interesting to see the story from Suzanne Somers' point of view. I also thought the movie jumped far too quickly through the first few years of the show for the sake of concentrating on the Somers controversy. Joyce DeWitt's (the real one) narrative was also completely unnecessary and added nothing of value, in my view.

But even with those criticisms I thought this was great entertainment for a Monday night couchfest. 8/10

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