HAPPY DAYS remained a highly rated show for most of its run, despite losing it's main character, Richie, about two-thirds of the way through it's 10 year run. Ron Howard wanted to pursue film-making, and, in my opinion, HAPPY DAYS lost its main dynamic. Fonzie had surpassed Richie in stardom and fan appeal sometime before this happened, but after Richie left, the show changed, and not for the better. Fonzie had lost his best friend, the character he could bounce off of. The show was fortunate that it had such a large following and such rich supporting characters, because it remained a hit until it ended. But the episodes after Ron Howard (and Donny Most, who left at the same time as Howard) were not as good.
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