It took a little while but CBS Corporation and Sony Pictures TV have been able to reach a deal, giving acclaimed multi-camera family comedy One Day At a Time a new home on Pop. The basic cable network has ordered 13-episode fourth season to debut in 2020, likely launching off the final season of Pop’s flagship comedy series Schitt’s Creek. Additionally, the network has acquired the linear rights to the first three seasons of One Day at a Time.
The primary piece of the deal is ODAAT airing exclusively on Pop, though CBS will run repeats later in the year similarly to the current showing of CBS All Access‘ The Good Fight on the broadcast network. That run will mark ODAAT‘s return to CBS where the original series aired over 40 years ago.
The pickup comes three months after Netflix in March canceled One Day at a Time, a reimagening of the classic Norman Lear sitcom, triggering outpouring of support from fans who rallied behind the multi-generational comedy starring Justina Machado and Rita Moreno.
While Netflix itself has picked up series canceled by other networks, this is the first time a series canceled by the streaming giant has been able to get a new home.
“We are disrupting the disruptors,” Pop President Brad Schwartz quipped.
CBS Corp. had been the most enthusiastic buyer for ODAAT from the get-go. The company initially tried to pick up the Latinx family sitcom for its streaming service CBS All Access. Because of the provisions in ODAAT’s Netflix deal that do not allow it to continue on another SVOD service for years after its cancellation (though it could jump to a broadcast or cable network in a few months), a deal with CBS All Access was a no-go, with the conversation quickly shifting to the company’s basic cable network Pop.
Schwartz said that when he found out that Netflix was canceling ODAAT, he “personally couldn’t believe it”. “I really loved the show; it made me laugh and made me cry, and I also felt it was such an important show that dealt with love and inclusion and acceptance and diversity, a single mother head of household and socio economic issues. It was such a well constructed and beautiful show, and it had a lot of the same themes and a lot of the same emotion that Schitt’s Creek has; it was happy and it was kind. It felt that show belonged on Pop and on a network that also had Schitt’s Creek, so we started dreaming ‘what if’.”
Next came,”could we pull this off, could we afford it,” Schwartz said, noting that Pop’s pursuit of ODAAT coincided with the network, previously a co-venture between CBS Corp. and Lionsgate, becoming fully owned by CBS.
“(CBS Corp. CEO) Joe Ianniello himself loves the show and was interested in it, (CBS Corp. Chief Creative Officer) David Nevins was really supportive of Pop getting a second critically acclaimed fan-adored comedy besides Schitt’s Creek, so with the power, strength support of the whole company, we went after it,” Schwartz said, praising Sony TV for being “wonderful partners.”
With ODAAT, which will mark the first multi-camera comedy on Pop, Sony TV has done something never done before, successfully move a series from Netflix to another network despite all the restrictions of Netflix’s contracts that don’t allow any of its series to continue on another digital platform for years after their cancelation.
“We are going from a cost plus to a deficit model,” Sony TV President Jeff Frost said. “Working with our international distribution and downstream domestic distribution groups, we created a model that we think in success will work for us.”
As part of switching to a deficit financing-based deal with a basic cable network, Sony TV retained syndication, library digital and international rights to the upcoming Season 4. The studio also has linear rights to the first three seasons that will continue to stream on Netflix for a number of years, and is expected to shop the four seasons in broadcast syndication.
In finding a new home for ODAAT, Sony TV used its status as an independent studio, exploring any type of buyers it could within the confines of the Netflix agreement.
“This was a show that we were so determined to find a new home for, it has a special place in our hearts,” Frost said. “This was more difficult because of (the terms of the Netflix deal), and it took a lot of back-and-forth with all of the distributors we talked to. Pop was great in working with us, and we feel we found the best way to make this happen.”
While there will be some budget reduction, which is inevitable in moving from a premium streaming platform to a basic cable network, on the production side it will be “not significant,” Frost said.
In an interview with Deadline (you can read it here), One Day At a Time developers, executive producers and showrunners Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce discuss their plans for Season 4, which will touch on politics as it will air during an election year, and switching from a binge model to airing once a week. They also expressed their joy for the pickup.
“We love making the show, we love these people, we love this cast,” Calderon Kellett said. “We love this type of storytelling in a Norman Lear fashion, we love telling it about this family, especially right now when the Latinx community is still pretty vilified in the press by the administration, so to be able to put something forward that is positive and hopeful about a Latin immigrant family doing right in America seems important. We are really honored and thrilled to be able to do it and so grateful to Pop and to Sony for allowing us to continue to tell this important story.”
One Day at a Time, the comedy-drama inspired by Norman Lear’s 1975 series of the same name, follows the life of Penelope Alvarez (Justina Machado), a newly single Army veteran, and her Cuban-American family, as they navigate the ups and downs of life. Now a nurse practitioner, Penelope is raising two strong-willed children. When faced with challenges, Penelope turns to her “old-school” mother Lydia (Rita Moreno), and her building manager Schneider (Todd Grinnell), who has become an invaluable confidant. The series offers a contemporary take on what life looks like in both good and bad times, and how loved ones can help make it all worthwhile. The series also stars Isabella Gomez as Elena Alvarez, Marcel Ruiz as Alex Alvarez and Stephen Tobolowsky as Dr. Berkowitz. All of them are returning next season.
“Three months ago, I was heartbroken with the news of our beloved One Day At A Time’s cancellation. Today, I’m overwhelmed with joy to know the Alvarez family will live on,” said Lear. “Thank you to my producing partner, Brent Miller, our incredibly talented co-showrunners, Mike Royce and Gloria Calderón Kellett, and of course, Sony, for never once giving up on the show, our actors or the possibility that a cable network could finally save a cancelled series that originated on a streaming service. And one last thank you to, Pop, for having the guts to be that first cable network. Even this I get to experience – at 96.”
One Day At a Time is produced by Act III Productions, Inc., Snowpants Productions and GloNation in association with Sony Pictures Television, with Norman Lear, Mike Royce, Gloria Calderón Kellett and Brent Miller serving as executive producers.
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