The Hennessy clan on ABC’s “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” will have Grandpa Jim sticking around for a while.
The show’s producer, Touchstone TV, has closed a deal with James Garner to continue on the sophomore comedy as a regular, appearing in all remaining episodes of the season.
The veteran actor was first tapped to guest star in four episodes this fall to help take the sitcom through the tricky transition from a show that revolved around the travails of a harried dad and newspaper columnist played by John Ritter, who died of a heart ailment in September, to a new focus on a family coping with the sudden loss of its patriarch.
Garner plays the father of Katey Sagal’s character, the widowed Cate Hennessy, who came to support his daughter and three teenage grandchildren as they grapple with grief and the harsh realities of becoming a single-parent family.
He has guest-starred in all episodes of the show to date, beginning with the emotional Nov. 4 one-hour segment, the first episode without Ritter.
Garner is set to return to “8 Simple Rules” on Jan. 5 after taking a fall on the set of the show Friday and having himself checked at a nearby hospital. Diagnosed with a badly bruised hip, the 75-year-old was sent home to rest. His scenes in the episode, originally scheduled to tape last Friday night, are expected to film the week of Jan. 5. The episode also marks the first guest appearance of David Spade, who signed on to do a multiple-episode arc.