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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


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Melanie Paxson ... Joyce DeWitt (as Melanie Deanne Moore)
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:

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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?


The character of Lana Shields (Ann Wedgeworth) is completely omitted. See more »


The final scene of the show was filled with many mistakes. First of all, Terri/Priscilla was the one who turned out the apartment light and close the door, not Jack/John. Also, the movie shows the apartment number to be 291, not 201 which is what it was on the show. See more »


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


References The Captain and Tennille (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

Great mix of a story, but missed a few key ingredients
13 May 2003 | by trdonovanSee all my reviews

This NBC 2-hour film was quite exceptional in its reflection of the tales behind the camera of one of television's most successful comedies, `Three's Company'.

The acting ensemble was 99% uncanny to the actual people who were portrayed. Bret Anthony played an excellent "John Ritter/Jack Tripper'. His rendition of the legendary pratfalls of Ritter was right on mark. I didn't exactly buy him as a legitimate Ritter/Tripper, at first, mostly due to Anthony having a stark resemblance to the late Robert F. Kennedy. After a while-- the Jack Tripper performance was a payoff because it was believable.

Melanie Deanne Moore was an excellent actress who not only resembled "Joyce DeWitt/Janet Wood' but actually sounded very much like the actress she was playing. The producers could not have found a better actress to fill that part. On a side note, it was quite refreshing to see Moore in a dramatic role, than just her recently known `GLAD Bag' commercials. She's a true gem that shall rise to better heights!

Judy Tylor played a believable `Suzanne Somers/Chrissy Snow'. She had the semi-looks and mannerisms down pat, but her dramatics is what counted, and she played it well. The actor who played her husband/manager, Alan Hamel, was outstanding. His lesser-known popularity stems from being the focal point of Somer's departing from the show in 1981. Excellent portrayal of events from that era of the series.

Brian Dennehy took off as `Fred Silverman' the ABC executive who brought `Three's Company' to the air. His crotchety, yet bold, personality was played off with a bit of sauciness and poise-- and Dennehy deserves an Emmy nomination.

Barbara Gordon and Terence Kelley played `The Ropers/Audra Lindley & Norman Fell'. Kelley didn't really resemble Fell much at all, but he had the Stanley-isms down to a lock. Gordon was an excellent, excellent mirror image of Audra Lindley-- with a minor exception of the hair. Mrs. Roper's character, during the series run, had a reddish-brown wig, and on the NBC film, the wig was dark brown. It mildly took away for a sharp second, the believability, but she sure pulled it off without a hitch.

For me, it was no surprise, although much expected, that Gregg Brinkley (aka 'Dan the Del Taco Guy') was going to be the one to play `Ralph Furley/Don Knotts'. Brinkley has been a comedian for many years and one of his bits is a dead-on impression of Don Knotts and his many television characters we have come to know for the last fifty years. Brinkley was superb and Don Knotts himself should be rather proud. No one else could have played that part.

The main thing missing, as far as characters are concerned, is that there was no mention of, or anyone portraying `Larry Dallas/Richard Kline'. That is an obvious hole which would be the steak without potatoes. It just didn't feel right when watching the movie. It was said that DeWitt, who was co-producer of the NBC film, and narrator, was heart-broken and dissatisfied that Kline was not represented.

The film really did not pay much attention to detail to the remaking of the actual sets from `Three's Company'. In the first viewing of the living room, we are taken aback by the fact that most of the walls are a bold mustard-yellow. The kitchen was close, but the living room door is what caught the attention to most. It was a normal rectangle door, and not the oval-archway we came to know.

Overall, `Three's Company Revisited' was a great portrayal of the events from 1977-84. If you have read Chris Mann's book, `Come and Knock on Our Door-A her's and her's and his Guide to Three's Company'-you can attest that the movie was pretty much dead-on with the book, which was actually done mostly from interviews from just about every cast member and production official.

Although a great film, nothing takes away from the series itself. Nothing makes us laugh like the original series-especially Joyce DeWitt- a master of the craft!

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