'One Day at a Time' Revived for Season 4 at Pop

One Day At A Time S02E02 Still - Publicity - H 2018
Adam Rose/Netflix

It's a TV miracle. 

Pop, the niche CBS-owned cable network, has revived Netflix's canceled critical darling One Day at a Time for a fourth season. The new batch of 13 episodes will debut in 2020. As part of the deal, CBS will also broadcast the series later in 2020, after its run on Pop. CBS, whose streaming platform, CBS All Access, initially tried to revive the series, was the original home for Lear's groundbreaking original comedy more than 40 years ago. 

The historic move is likely the first example of a scripted original series moving from a streaming platform to a cable network. As part of the deal, Sony will now have syndication and international rights to the show — both of which were originally controlled by Netflix. Pop will also air the first three seasons of the series, which will also continue to stream on Netflix. 

"How amazing it is to be involved with this brilliant and culturally significant series that deals with important themes one minute while making you laugh the next,” Pop TV president Brad Schwartz said Thursday in a statement. "If Schitt’s Creek has taught us anything, it’s that love and kindness always wins. Pop is now the home to two of the most critically praised and fan-adored comedies in all of television, bringing even more premium content to basic cable. We couldn’t be more proud to continue telling heartwarming stories of love, inclusion, acceptance and diversity that pull on your emotions while putting a smile on your face."

The news comes three months after Netflix canceled the critically praised but apparently little-watched reboot of the classic comedy from executive producer Norman Lear and showrunners Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce. The multicamera comedy from Sony Pictures Television had, under its Netflix deal, limitations that prevented another streamer — like Amazon or CBS All Access — from picking up the show. Netflix continues to retain exclusive streaming rights to the first three seasons of the reboot. 
“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."

The revival deal for One Day at a Time should be seen as a major win for indie studio Sony TV, which, despite having a new regime, has had a long history of saving shows after their cancellations (see NBC's Timeless, for example). The deal also has some similarities to Friday Night Lights, which saw DirecTV save the series from near cancellation and air the beloved drama's first-run episodes before they aired at a later date on the broadcast network. The announcement comes mere days before the studio's options on the cast expired.
"We are so honored to be associated with this exceptional series,” said Sony Pictures Television president Jeff Frost. “It means so much to so many people. We were never willing to accept that the story of the Alvarez family might not continue and we undertook every effort to ensure that did not occur.  We are so grateful to our new partners at Pop and CBS for believing in this series and working with us to bring it back.  We are overjoyed to continue to work with the brilliant team of Gloria, Mike, Norman and Brent as well as this brilliantly talented cast.”

Netflix canceled One Day at a Time in March, with head of originals Cindy Holland telling The Hollywood Reporter in March that it "didn't make economic sense" for the streamer to renew the series. Holland stressed that the financial model of the show — Netflix paid a licensing fee to Sony TV — had nothing to do with its decision to cancel the comedy. "We supported three seasons of a show that probably wouldn't have made it past season one any other place — if it had been made at all," she said. "But at some point, we do need to look for other stories to tell that can garner bigger audiences."
"We supported three seasons of it, but at some point, you have to make the difficult decision to say goodbye and try to look for other stories to tell and invest in that hopefully will garner larger audiences," noted Holland. "One Day at a Time had a core, passionate but pretty small audience that didn't materially grow season over season. Frankly, we were looking for reasons to try to continue to say yes, and we just got to the point where it was hard to find them — other than knowing we loved the show and that it had a small core audience.

Pop TV, initially a joint venture between CBS Corp. and Lionsgate, is now entirely owned by the former. The former TV Guide Network is best known as the domestic home for the Canadian comedy Schitt's Creek — another critical darling — and such series as the Joey McIntyre comedy Return of the Mac and Hollywood Darlings, starring Jodie Sweetin, Christine Lakin and Beverley Mitchell. The cabler also features a large inventory of beloved shows in syndication, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson's Creek and the original Beverly Hills, 90210, among others.