“One Day at a Time” Needs a Home … Again

“One Day at a Time” Needs a Home … Again

After the first season, One Day at a Time was picked up for a joyful second season, which I was lucky enough to see being filmed a few times (including the finale). There were posters and billboards put up and people watched. But. After season two aired, Netflix got cagey and quiet and it was pretty clear to everyone that the show was on the bubble.

So fans like us spoke up and asked to save One Day at a Time. It took Netflix 2 months to renew the show for season 3, which was a bad sign for those who understood how Netflix does things (the longer between binge dump and renew, the more nervous we all get and with good reason). But season 3 dropped in January 2019, was officially on the bubble by March, and canceled just days following that announcement.

I took it very hard. The same week the third season dropped, my father died unexpectedly. I saw a lot of my dad in Penelope. A single parent who didn’t always get their weird kids, but loved them all the same. The show reminded me how similar every family is, and how loving we all are in our own ways. I actually was in Japan when the show was released and I watched an episode lying in the dark in my Dad’s apartment, on a futon, wondering if life would ever be the same again, and knowing it never would be.

Then a miracle happened. We got more! PopTV picked up the show, but it was very odd.

Why is the show so hard to keep?

Understanding why we have to keep saving One Day at a Time is directly related to Netflix and their unorthodox method of handling shows.

Sony produced the show, but Netflix paid for the show in it’s entirety for three season (plus profits to Sony) and for Netflix this was not actually a great deal. You see, for Netflix to make a profit, the show had to not only draw in viewers and keep them, it also had to draw in new viewers. Now, Netflix doesn’t tell a show how well it’s doing in that way, which leaves producers in a black box situation. They just don’t know if they’re okay or not, until Netflix says anything.

The other thing that makes the setup difficult is that Netflix’s deal includes a lockout for other streamers. This happened to Daredevil as well. Once the show was canceled on Netflix, it could not go to another streamer for five years. ODaaT was canceled in 2019, so we have to wait until 2024 to add the show to a streaming network like CBS All Access. No matter how dumb we all thought it was, that was the contract signed and that was the agreement made.

In 2019, PopTV picked up ODaaT with re-air rights on CBS (which included CBS All Access) in order to help afford things. And in 2020? We started filming and we went to see the show and we celebrated and then …

COVID Happened

After four episodes were filmed, I got a message from the crew letting me know that I would not be allowed to come to the next taping as planned, because of COVID concerns. My reply was “Anything to protect national treasures Rita Moreno and Norman Lear.” It was March. We knew things were going to get bad. They got worse.

In the middle of all this, a weird thing happened on PopTV. Flack, which was supposed to air a fully completed season 2, was canceled basically right before airing. At the same time, it canceled Florida Girls, which had been renewed the previous October, and an upcoming comedy titled Best Intentions. At that time, only ODaaT and Schitt’s Creek (which was in it’s final season) were still on the network.

Weird right?

Well down comes November and suddenly ODaaT is canceled and PopTV is dumping everything original. And we do mean everything. Like other shows they were working on just vanished, even to-series ordered shows like Mother Mary.

Okay so what the heck happened?

A tl;dr summary is this:

  • Netflix canceled the show and refused to let it go to another streamer (as is their right)
  • PopTV (with a hand from CBS) picked it up
  • COVID put a pause on taping
  • PopTV had budget woes and punted all their shows
  • CBS is in the middle of transforming CBS All Access in to Paramount+
  • Netflix still won’t let ODaaT go to a streamer
  • ODaaT isn’t quite big enough for CBS to want to take for linear (over air)
  • Sony (the production company) is one of the few who don’t have a related linear network

That’s where we’re at.

It’s all down to money.

Now What?

Well. We tweet again that we need to #SaveODAAT and we tell people to watch the show on CBS All Access, for as long as it’s there, so more people watch it. Basically we need more people to watch the show so CBS maybe changes their mind. It’s kind of a weird moment, since on the one hand now would be the right time to re-air all of the show (it’s not like we’re going anywhere, right?) but also it’s hella expensive to film and a show that is critically acclaimed but has moderate viewers is not really enough to justify paying for.

It’s a conundrum.

PopTV was really the best place, but they’re reshuffling everything and won’t be doing scripted TV.

Now. Before you panic about Isabella being cast on the reboot of Head of the Class, both shows would be able to be filmed without conflict. Which means that … there is hope.

So let’s get out there and #SaveODAAT one more time.

About Mika A. Epstein

Mika has been deep in fandom since she could say 'Trekkie.' With decades experience in running fansites, developing software, and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife and their cats in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.
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