The Regal Beagle is back in business, baby! Yes, New Line Cinema has come knocking on the door of an ancient sitcom, hoping to revive it to box office success. The studio is ready to bring Three’s Company to the big screen. And this TV-to-movie adaptation will be set in the original’s1970s timeline. New Line is currently in negotiations to pick up the rights to the slapstick feature film, which originally aired on ABC.
Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein are writing the screenplay for Three’s Company. The duo is best known for their work on the 2009 hit romantic comedy, He’s Just Not That Into You. According to THR, Veteran producer Robert Cort is shepherding the project forward. He’s known for such blockbuster comedy hits as Tom Cruise’s Cocktail and Julia Roberts’ Runaway Bride.
Three’s Company first debuted in 1977 and was an instant hit, staying in the top ten for most of its 8 seasons. The show ended in 1984. The story followed two single woman living in Santa Monica who take on a male roommate. During the era, cohabitation between platonic roommates was not a societal norm. To keep the arrangement with the landlords copacetic, the trio pretended that the man was gay. The show was a comedy of errors, and was filled with innuendo and pratfalls.
John Ritter lead the original ensemble as Jack Tripper, a career chef. His roommates were played by Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Somers. Dewitt starred as Janet, a spunky brunette, while Somers became a worldwide sex symbol playing Chrissy Snow. Suzanne Somers actually left the show early on in its run over a contract dispute. She was laters replaced by Jenilee Harrison and Priscilla Barnes.
The sitcom itself was an adaptation of a British comedy called Man About the House. In the updated 70s version, Jack, Janet and Chrissy were often trying to hide their shenanigans from their landlords The Ropers, played by Norman Fell and Audra Lindley. They proved to be so popular, they got their own spinoff, with Don Knotts coming into take over. The show also starred Richard Kline as Jack’s best friend Larry, a used car salesman who was always on the prowl for ladies. While other TV-to-Movie adaptations have been meta and self-referential, such as The Brady Bunch and Adam Family movies, it isn’t known how straight Three’s Company will play the material.
While these kinds of adaptations were popular in the late 90s and early 2000s, they fell out of favor with audiences over the course of the last decade. Movie-to-TV adaptations, however, are flourishing on the small screen. And there may be a resurgence in the genre all together. Paramount Pictures is currently shooting a big screen version of Baywatch, which is an R-rated action comedy starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron. And the 21 Jump Street movies have proven to be a hit for Sony Pictures, who just announced that the third movie in the franchise will be a crossover with Men in Black called MIB 23. There is no casting news yet on THree’s Company. But there is no short supply of possible candidates to play Jack, Janet and Chrissy.