One Day at a Time co-showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett sounded the alarm three weeks ago after a meeting with Netflix executive about a fourth season of the show. “I wish I felt more confident,” she wrote on February 20. And yet, the news today of Netflix’s decision to cancel One Day at a Time came as a shocker given its critical acclaim, its rabid following and the underserved audience it caters to.
Within minutes of the news of One Day at a Time’s cancellation,
Netflix only informed the One Day at a Time team last night of the its decision, but studio Sony Pictures TV already is gearing up to shop the series to as many places as possible.
One Day at a Time is a broad, multi-camera family comedy. While Netflix has found traction with some original multi-camera sitcoms, such as The Ranch and Fuller House, outside of the blockbuster success of the Friends reruns, Netflix’s biggest hits have been serialized series conducive to binging.
Meanwhile, broadcast television traditionally has been a perfect fit for multi-camera sitcoms, which attract wide audiences and allow viewers to join in at any point. Some of the biggest new broadcast comedy hits for the past couple of seasons have been multi-camera, including The Roseanne revival and spinoff The Conners on ABC, the Will & Grace revival on NBC, the Last Man Standing revival on Fox as well as The Neighborhood on CBS.
ABC is considered a suitable destination for One Day at a Time as the network, in the wake of Roseanne’s breakout success, had made expanding its portfolio of blue-collar comedies a priority. Additionally, ABC virtually “owns” the family comedy series genre, and it had been very interested in launching a new Latinx family sitcom in the tradition of George Lopez and Cristela.
Fox also might be an intriguing possibility as Once Day at a Time could be paired with fellow blue-collar multi-cam sitcom Last Man Standing. CBS is the network most closely associated with multi-camera comedies, and it aired Norman Lear’s original One Day at a Time, though it already has a multi-cam family pilot with a Latino star, Broke, headlined by Jaime Camil. Still, CBS has streaming sibling CBS All Access, which I hear may be interested.
One Day at a Time superfan Miranda had a similar idea, urging the broadcasting networks — as well as streaming platforms Hulu and Amazon — to pick up the series:
I hear all options are on the table, with Sony open to any possibilities, even a basic cable network that does comedy series, such as TBS.
What about ratings? In her February 20 tweet, Calderón Kellett revealed what Netflix’s likely argument for the cancellation was. “They made clear that they love the show, love how it serves underrepresented audiences, love its heart & humor, but…we need more viewers,” she wrote.
While I hear that Netflix indeed claimed that One Day at a Time was not where the Internet network wanted it to be ratings-wise, I also hear that the series’ viewership went up with each season, which bodes well for its future. (Netflix is known for not disclosing ratings information.)
Additionally, a show like One Day at a Time could benefit from a bigger platform in reaching blue-collar viewers around the country, which a traditional network could provide.
I hear ratings was not the sole reason for Netflix’s decision to cancel One Day at a Time; there were also business arguments related to the show’s deal and ownership. (Netflix has been moving toward owning most of its series.)
On the other hand, Sony TV is likely very motivated to find a new network to get to four seasons as it would allow it to sell the comedy in the off-market. That could help an opportunistic net to land a rare prestige multi-camera sitcom from one of the biggest TV icons, Lear, who exec produces the reboot alongside showrunners Calderón Kellett and Mike Royce.
Could Netflix reconsider? The Internet network so far has only done it once, and only to give canceled drama Sense8 a finale, not an additional season.
In one of his tweets, Miranda referenced Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which was picked up by NBC after it had been canceled by Fox and has done very well in its new home. That network switch was motivated in part by NBCU owning the cop comedy and benefitting from its off-network pacts, while Sony TV does not have an affiliated network it can turn to.
Yet, there is a strong parallel between Brooklyn Nine-Nine and One Day at a Time. Very few canceled series have triggered a #SaveTheShow hashtag that has catapulted to the No. 1 worldwide Twitter trend spot. Last year, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Lucifer did it after being canceled by Fox. They both found new homes — the latter at Netflix.
Will One Day at a Time be able to replicate that? As Lear said to today, replying to Miranda, “To be continued…”