'One Day at a Time' Lands Animated Special at Pop

One Day at a Time - Season 4 - Publicity Still - H 2020
Pop TV

One Day at a Time is finding a creative solution to its stalled fourth season.

The Netflix-turned-Pop comedy will produce an animated episode, set to air at a date to be determined in the spring. The cast of the series, including national treasure Rita Moreno, will reprise their characters in animated form in the special, which is the brainchild of co-showrunner Gloria Calderon Kellett.

"In my 97 years, I've never known of a multicam comedy to animate a single episode as a special. Even this I get to experience," executive producer Norman Lear said Tuesday in a statement.

The news comes as One Day at a Time is set to air the sixth episode of its current fourth season in what could be its last live-action episode in some time. Of the season's 13 episodes, six were shot — including two without its standard studio audience — before the novel coronavirus forced productions to be shut down. It's unclear when filming could resume, though there are already extensive conversations about what that process could look like in this new era. The midseason finale airs Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Pop (with a simulcast on TV Land).

"As we all know, it’s hard to keep One Day at a Time off the air. During this unprecedented time, we wanted to find a way to keep our family — on camera and behind the scenes — together and create more entertaining content for our fans who are self-distancing at home,” said Kellett. “This animated special gives us an exciting opportunity to imagine the Alvarez family in a colorful new way while continuing to tell important and relevant stories.”

The animated special will see Penelope's (Justina Machado) conservative family visiting. Penelope dreads that with the election coming up, they won’t be able to avoid fighting over politics. The Alvarez family spends the episode discussing strategies for how to get through it, illustrated through fantasy sequences. Jonas Diamond, executive producer and co-owner of Smiley Guy Studios in Toronto, will oversee the animation.

The special arrives as animated series have largely been unaffected by the near industry-wide production shutdown.