3:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'One Day at a Time' Canceled at ViacomCBS; Sony to Shop Former Pop Comedy
One Day at a Time's saga continues.
The former Netflix comedy's time at ViacomCBS — including first-run episodes on Pop and repeats on CBS — has come to an end as the conglomerate has declined to order additional episodes of the beloved update on Norman Lear's iconic series. Producers Sony Pictures Television — who successfully found a second home for the series when Netflix canceled it after three seasons — plans to shop the Latinx-themed comedy. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the indie studio is having ongoing conversations with multiple outlets as it searches for an unprecedented third home for One Day at a Time.
"Much has changed at Viacom in the last year and unfortunately we won't be on Pop anymore. Thanks to everybody over there for the opportunity to do season 4.And guess what? We're still trying for season 5. What if #ODAAT was the first show ever on 3 networks?" co-showrunner Mike Royce tweeted Tuesday. Added co-showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett: "I'm not sad just yet, y'all. We still have some hope for new homes. Hang tight, my loves. You know that if I go down, I will go down swinging for this show (& cast & crew) I love."
The news comes as One Day at a Time had its revived fourth season cut short by the novel coronavirus pandemic. In a bid to bring at least some closure to the season, Pop and Sony commissioned an animated special that aired in June and serves, at least for now, as the last episode of the series. ViacomCBS-owned niche cable network Pop revived the series for its fourth season but following the end of Schitt's Creek and the decision to drop all of its remaining originals, Pop is now officially out of the scripted business.
Production on season four — which was shut down amid the novel coronavirus pandemic after completing only six of its 13 episodes — never resumed. Sony and ViacomCBS had been in talks to renew the comedy for a fifth season on streamer CBS All Access. That deal was stymied by contractual limitations that were part of the show's original Netflix deal, which limited when another streaming platform could run the series. Netflix would have had to sign off on a rival streamer reviving the series starring Justina Machado and Rita Moreno.
The goal, per sources, would have been for CBS All Access to air a fifth season in 2021. That would have been a year earlier than Netflix's pact for the series allowed. CBS All Access initially wanted to revive One Day at a Time for a fourth season but was unable to come to terms given the Netflix limitations. It then landed at Pop and, following a first-of-its-kind deal, became the first Netflix-canceled original series to land at a new home. (Since then, animated comedy Tuca and Bertie — canceled a year ago at Netflix — was revived for a second season at WarnerMedia-owned Adult Swim.) Netflix would have had to have signed off on One Day at a Time's accelerated move to a rival streamer.
The news comes after One Day at a Time aired its final live-action episode April 28 on Pop. That episode, the sixth of its 13-episode order, was among two that were filmed without its traditional live studio audience before the novel coronavirus forced a near industrywide production shutdown. The One Day at a Time animated special, which aired June 16 following a season four marathon, was the last installment of the series to air on Pop. The comedy had been simulcast on ViacomCBS-owned Pop and TV Land (and Logo). The series launched its fourth season to 607,000 total same-day viewers, with 457,000 on TV Land (which is in about 15 million more homes than Pop).
Netflix, like other streamers, does not release traditional viewership data. The show, which is drawing Emmy buzz for Moreno, helped further solidify Pop as a home for critical darlings as former network president Brad Schwartz built on the critical conversation around the since-concluded Schitt's Creek. Together, the two shows helped boost Pop's viewership 70 percent year-over-year.
CBS, which has had success with multicamera comedies and was the home of the original One Day at a Time, had a second window for season four and aired those episodes earlier this year to middling returns.
Still, Sony TV has a history of finding new homes for canceled originals and continues to believe in the series as sources close to the show remain optimistic that a new deal can be worked out. One obstacle that the series may face is an ownership one as many media companies are buying exclusively from their in-house studios rather than paying steep licensing fees for content form third-party suppliers. Sony, it's worth noting, is an indie studio that does not have broad streaming service of its own or any sort of linear platform.
The studio remains fiercely protective of One Day at a Time and, per sources, called executives at ViacomCBS to clarify the future of the series on Pop following the conglomerate's decision to pull the plug on the rest of the cabler's scripted lineup. In March, ViacomCBS canceled three previously renewed originals — Florida Girls, Flack and Best Intentions — leaving only the remaining episodes of the final season of Schitt's Creek and One Day at a Time. Layoffs of all of Pop TV president Schwartz's creative and development team followed as it became clear the cabler was being taken out of the pricey scripted originals business. (Schwartz, too, is no longer with ViacomCBS.) Instead, Pop has shifted toward owning its content rather than licensing pricey originals. Pop's move makes it the latest outlet to exit the scripted originals space. Sony, it's worth noting, sold Cobra Kai to Netflix after its original home, YouTube, retreated from scripted originals.
The decision comes as ViacomCBS is poised to rebrand CBS All Access as Paramount+, and the subscription platform will be a home to content from across the media giant's entire portfolio including Comedy Central, MTV, BET and Nickelodeon.