Gloria Calderon Kellett (One Day at a Time, Jane the Virgin) and Mike Royce (One Day at a Time, Men of a Certain Age), producers of network-spanning comedy One Day at a Time, announced on Tuesday that the sitcom could not find a suitable home and has officially come to an end. Though critically acclaimed, the reboot of Norman Lear’s (All in the Family, Maude) 1970’s sitcom featuring a Cuban-American family, has suffered two harrowing cancellations due to inadequate viewership numbers and extraneous network circumstances, via The Hollywood Reporter.
— Mike Royce (@MikeRoyce) December 8, 2020
Premiering in 2017, One Day at A Time brought a traditional network-style multi-cam sitcom to Netflix’s streaming audience. Lear’s original sitcom explored divorce and single-motherhood, a topic considered taboo at the time, and the revival saw Justina Machado (Six Feet Under, One Day at a Time) step into the role of a modern-day single matriarch, Penelope Alvarez. Isabella Gomez (One Day at a Time, Matador), Marcel Ruiz (One Day at a Time) and Broadway legend Rita Morena (West Side Story, The King and I) round out the the Alvarez family, one that garnered a reputation for “tackling real issues with humor” (UPROXX). Todd Grinnell (One Day at a Time, Desperate Housewives) and Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day, The Goldbergs) complete the principle cast, with original One Day at a Time actress Mackenzie Phillips (American Graffiti, One Day at a Time) playing Penelope Alvarez’s therapist.
Despite this fresh-take on Lear’s 70s family sitcom, Netflix cancelled the series in 2019 due to lower-than-anticipated viewership, via The Wrap. The fervent love for One Day at a Time sparked an internet campaign to save the show, using the hashtag #SaveODAAT, which quickly landed the series a new home at PopTV. However, the “ViacomCBS-owned niche cable network” proved an unsuitable for the series needs, according to The Hollywood Reporter. One Day at A Time was the first Netflix-cancelled series to move onto another network, and Deadline refers to the deal struck with PopTV as a “complex” one that “included encore airings on sibling CBS”.
The onset of COVID-19 further disrupted One Day at a Time’s fourth season on PopTV, cutting it’s planned thirteen-episode run down to six. An animated episode was thrown-in to tie-up some loose ends left behind after in-person production shutdown in March. Variety reported that a low-ratings turnout, combined with PopTV’s decision to move out of the scripted space led to a second cancellation of One Day at a Time after the show’s rocky fourth season at their new network.
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This second cancellation launched a second effort to save the series, with Grinnell posting the latest campaign to #SaveODAAT on Instagram just last week. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a deal was close to being struck to give the series a fifth season at CBS All Access in 2021, but the Netflix rival streaming limitations weighed down the deal with too much complexity.
It’s officially over. There will be no new @OneDayAtATime episodes. But there will always be 46 episodes that we got to make that live FOREVER. Thank you to this beautiful cast. Our dedicated crew. And to you, our loyal fans. We loved making this for you. Thank you for watching. pic.twitter.com/sTMorHSu1w
— Gloria Calderón Kellett (@everythingloria) December 8, 2020
A Deadline statement confirmed that Calderon Kellett had plans for the show’s fourth season that involved repurposing the unused plotlines from the back-half of season four and having Machado make her directorial debut on the series. However, as Calderon Kellett told her Twitter followers on Tuesday, “it’s officially over. There will be no new [One Day at a Time] episodes.” The producer went on to thank the cast, crew and fans who had stuck with the show throughout its unstable behind-the-scenes journey.
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The rest of the cast and crew chimed in with emotional farewells to the Alvarez family. “You changed my life,” Machado said of the series in an Instagram post that featured images of her on set at the start and end of the series’ production. Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, One Life to Live), who Machado would’ve joined in the series’ directorial credits had the sitcom been given a fifth season, left a heartfelt comment about what the show meant to her on Machado’s Instagram post.
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Gomez, who plays Elena Alvarez and is already set to star in an upcoming Head of the Class remake at HBO Max, shared some of her favorite memories from working on the series in an Instagram post after Tuesday’s news. Her character’s coming-out story and eventual romance was one of the show’s many heralded story-arcs, earning it three GLAAD nominations.
I will forever cherish this character that has meant so much to so many people. To all the fans, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your love and support. You have no idea how much it’s meant. In Syd’s own words “No matter what happens, I love you.” ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/65N0t4SkW2
— Sheridan Pierce (@sheridan_pierce) December 9, 2020
Sheridan Pierce (One Day at a Time, Dear White People), who played Elena Alvarez’s Syd-nificant other on the show, tweeted about the honor she felt in representing the non-binary community with her character Syd. “I will forever cherish this character that has meant so much to so many people,” Pierce reflected in a Twitter thread on Tuesday.
Grateful for this life changing journey and the impact ODAAT will keep having on future generations. The fact that we were able to come back for another season is amazing! I know this show will be remembered for the love it received over 47 episodes full of powerful stories 📺 pic.twitter.com/Uv1xMJUlT0
— Marcel®️ (@themarcelruiz) December 9, 2020
Elena’s younger brother, Alex Alvarez aka Papito, also began a dating life in the show’s short-lived fourth season, which served as fodder for several storylines. Ruiz, who plays Alex, shared his hope that the show’s 46 episode run across two-networks would still reach and inspire future generations on Twitter.
I learned a hard lesson a few years ago in New York: There is always a closing night. For the good shows, it transforms into a smile. For the bad shows – it becomes comedy. For One Day at a Time – it will be pride and amazement that something wonderful happened in its time.
— Stephen Tobolowsky (@Tobolowsky) December 8, 2020
“There is always a closing night,” Tobolowsky closed the evening of emotional goodbyes on Twitter. “For One Day at a Time – it will be pride and amazement that something wonderful happened in its time” (Twitter).