During the late 70's, aka the golden age of modern sitcoms, ABC network had a monster hit on their hands with Three's Company and they wanted to ride the huge wave of ratings as long as they could. The producers came up with the idea to give the Ropers ( they were the landlords of the apartment that Jack and his roommates rented) their own spin off and that gave us .. The Ropers
In this spin-off, the Ropers have sold their apartment building in the Three's Company episode "An Anniversary Surprise" (season 3, episode 20) to live in the upscale community of Cheviot Hills, where the social-climbing Helen struggled to fit in with her neighbors.
Cast of The Ropers
While at their new location The Ropers meet their new neighbors the Brookes, Mr Brookes was a snobbish realtor, his wife was a down to earth good girl and like all sitcoms of the time they had to have a cute kid. It seems that every TV show on during the 70's had to have that "cute kid".
Now this is where things get interesting behind the scenes. The actor who played Mr Roper, Norman Fell did not want to leave Threes company .. I mean why would he?? The show had great ratings , he loved playing the role, and he was comfortable with his cast mates. The producers at ABC made a deal with him that if he did the spin off and it was not a success after a year he would be able to come back to the Three's company. Norman Fell signed on to the spin off. When the show debuted March 13 , 1979 it was a hit!! In fact, it had really great ratings. It had the highest ratings for any new show that year. Things were looking good for The Ropers . Now comes time for Season 2 and for some reason the network decided to move the day and time to Saturday nights up against.. yes you guessed it, CHIPS and with that move killed all the ratings it had. The last episode of The Ropers aired May 22, 1980. Now here is where things take another sad turn for Norman Fell , so remember that contract he signed when it said if the show was not a success he can return back to his role on Three's company?? Well that didn't happen (although he came back for a guest spot in one episode) Once he left the network they brought in Don Knox to take over the role of the landlord and said that there was no need to bring back Mr and Mrs Roper.