‘Three’s Company’ Writers Allegedly Used Secret Code to Warn Cast About Suzanne Somers

by Megan Molseed

It’s no secret that the classic TV sitcom series Threes Company experienced quite a bit of drama during its time on TV between 1977 and 1984. A few seasons into the popular show’s run, one of the stars, Suzanne Somers began to face some very public drama related to the series.

This well-publicized drama would later result in Somers’ exit from the show. Bringing with it plenty of rumors regarding how filming for the sitcom operated during this time. One of these rumors related to why, exactly, Three’s Company showrunners regularly used different colored scripts as Somers’ was in the process of leaving the series.

Did The Three’s Company Writers Use Different Colored Scripts For One Specific Reason?

Issues between Three’s Company star Suzanne Somers, her costars, and the Three’s Company showrunners continued to arise. And the series scripts began to change as well. Some believe that the reason behind these different colored scripts was to warn Somers’ cast members of when the actress would be included in certain scenes. The origin of the color-coded scripts is rooted in the Three’s Company behind-the-scenes drama, per CBR. However, the reason is decidedly more practical.

In fact, the different colored scripts in the series held a very practical purpose. This purpose is in response to Somers’ much-publicized penchant for not showing up on the set to film during her last season on the series. The producers of the series did not know from day to day whether Somers would show up on set. So, they decided to produce two different scripts. One that included Somers’ character…and one that didn’t.

The Cast Had Color-Coded Scripts For Two Separate Scenarios

The Three’s Company scripts were color coded so the cast would know which one to use while they filmed the episode. And the Three’s Company collector Twitter account, threescompanycollection, shares a sample of one of these infamous scripts.

This system was the go-to until the later part of Somers’ final season with the series. At this point, the character, Chrissy Snow makes small appearances via phone calls. Since the character was “gone” to visit her parents. Tensions were mitigated by filming these scenes separate from the other cast members. This, of course, rendered any color-coded script system unnecessary.

During an interview with Fox News, Suzanne Somers describes her thoughts behind leaving the series. A move she made after deciding not to settle for a salary she felt was unfair. In fact, the star says, she tried to discuss these concerns with the showrunners before she left the series.

“At that time, the men were making 10 to 15 times more than I was,” the actress says in the interview.

“And I was on the No. 1 show,” Somers continues.

“It just seemed wrong because I was clearly being underpaid,” she continues, adding that her tactic didn’t stop the show.

“My contract was up,” Somers relates. “We had a meeting with the lawyers [at ABC] … But, by then, they had already decided.”