Based on the British sitcom Man About the House, Three's Company is a 1977 ABC sitcom starring John Ritter as Jack Tripper, who shares an apartment with two women, Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt) and a blonde (Suzanne Somers as Chrissy Snow for the first four seasons, then Jenilee Harrison as Cindy Snow for the fifth season, then Priscilla Barnes as Terri Alden for the last three). However, in order to stay in said apartment, he pretends to be gay around the landlords, Stanley and Helen Roper (Norman Fell and Audra Lindley, who were later spun off into The Ropers). Prior to its debut, two unaired pilots were taped, both of which use different scripts.
The first pilot, written by Larry Gelbart, was taped in May 1976, and more closely follows the British series. Ritter's character was not called Jack, but rather, David Bell, an aspiring filmmaker who was also a great cook. His roommates were DMV employee Jenny (Valerie Curtin), and aspiring actress Samantha (Susanne Zenor). A different living room set was used, the theme song had no real lyrics (strangely, this version was included in an ABC promo for the episode "No Children, No Dogs"), and Mrs. Roper was as mean to the tenants as Mr. Roper was. This version of Company didn't make ABC's 1976 fall lineup, but CBS did express interest in it at one point. The pilot was later included as a bonus feature on the 2004 Anchor Bay Entertainment DVD release of season 2.
The second pilot, written by Til Death Do Us Part writers Don Nicholl, Michael Ross, and Bernie West (NRW), was taped in November 1976, and everything was in place except for the theme song and the character of Chrissy (portrayed here by Susan Lanier). With this pilot, NRW built the new series around the misunderstandings of each character. Here, this pilot follows the Man About the House episode "And Mother Makes Four" (renamed for the main series under the same title). It was well-received (save for Lanier) and made ABC's lineup as a midseason show, while the network searched for a better Chrissy, which they found in Suzanne Somers. Company eventually went on to an eight-season run, while this pilot wqs never seen until its inclusion on the season 3 DVD set, also in 2004.