The actress who helped make "Three's Company" a television mega-hit has reinvented herself into a successful entrepreneur.
After selling more than 10 million ThighMasters, Suzanne Somers is now a brand in her own right—light years away from the naive California girl she played on the comedy of errors more than 30 years ago. However, Hollywood didn't always knock on her door.
After Somers reached TV stardom on the hit comedy show as Chrissy Snow, she was abruptly fired from the series in 1981. Well before women's pay disparities became a hot-button topic, Somers landed herself in hot water over her salary. She asked producers for a 500 percent raise, from $30,000 a week to $150,000, putting her on equal footing with male co-star John Ritter's weekly salary.
"Here I was on the number one show and I couldn't even get an interview because I was considered trouble," Somers told CNBC reflecting on feeling blackballed from Hollywood after departing "Three's Company".
As it happened, getting fired was the best thing to happen to Somers' career, as the actress has earned millions writing books, and promoting both clothes and fitness equipment aimed at female working women.
The TV industry has since changed exponentially since Somers' dismissal. Nowadays networks pay big bucks to actors who can create buzz and pull in huge ratings. TV actors and network executives are becoming millionaires, often earning even more money in syndication than profits seen during original production.
"I call it selling tickets," Somers said. "It's like 'Friends' when they got a million dollars an episode. You're not going to watch 'Friends' without the friends," she said, referencing the hit TV show that featured a group of 20-something buddies co-habitating in New York City.