'One Day At A Time' Renewed On New Network

Jun 29, 2019
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SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

Sitcom fans got some good news this week.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THIS IS IT")

GLORIA ESTEFAN: (Singing) This is it. This is life, the one you get. So go and have a ball.

MCCAMMON: The remake of "One Day At A Time" is returning for a fourth season. The beloved show about a Cuban American family premiered on Netflix in 2017. But it was canceled in March, provoking a widespread social media campaign for its renewal. And next season, fans can watch the show's stars Rita Moreno, Justina Machado and Isabella Gomez on its new home, the cable channel Pop TV. To tell us more about the significance of this deal, Monica Castillo joins me. She was a film writer for The New York Times and now edits for CherryPicks, a female-led film website. Welcome.

MONICA CASTILLO: Thank you for having me.

MCCAMMON: So first, what was your reaction to this news of the revival of "One Day At A Time."

CASTILLO: Oh, my goodness. I was overjoyed. I completely lost all focus on my work. It was really emotional for me to hear the cancellation news. And I know a number of fans who also were very emotionally invested in these characters and in this story. And then it felt like Netflix was taking that away.

MCCAMMON: And for people who haven't really watched the series, can you just tell us quickly about the characters?

CASTILLO: Sure. So the main focus of the show is the Alvarez family. It's a single mom with two kids, and her mom has moved back in with her - their wacky landlord and all the things that happen around this family, the things that they get involved in, the conversations that come up.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ONE DAY AT A TIME")

MARCEL RULZ: (As Alex Alvarez) Did you find abuelita?

JUSTINA MACHADO: (As Penelope Alvarez) Yeah. She's with Jesus now.

RULZ: (As Alex Alvarez) What?

ISABELLA GOMEZ: (As Elena Alvarez) What?

MACHADO: (As Penelope Alvarez) No, no. Sorry. She's at church - poor choice of words.

MCCAMMON: And you, as I understand it, are Cuban American yourself.

CASTILLO: I am.

MCCAMMON: Yeah. The characters on the show are of Cuban descent. How important is that portrayal for you?

CASTILLO: It was extremely important. I mean, I grew up without very many examples of Latinos on television to begin with and then specifically Cubans even less so. This was a show that had references to things in my house and used language that I used with my mom. And it just made me feel so much closer to a piece of entertainment.

MCCAMMON: Yeah. Can you give me an example? Like, was there a moment that just really felt familiar and, like, home for you?

CASTILLO: Oh, my goodness. There's too many. But I think the - my go-to is how Rita Moreno just will - she plays the grandmother on the show. And she breaks out in dance fairly frequently. That's something that I kind of do without really paying attention. I'll cook. I'll have music on. And I was also a former dance teacher. So that also happened to be her (laughter) background as well.

MCCAMMON: And we should note that when Netflix canceled "One Day At A Time," it released a statement saying that, quote, "not enough people watch to justify another season." Now, the company does not share its viewership data. But then the hashtag #RenewODAAT - short for "One Day At A Time" - was all over Twitter. And now Pop TV clearly sees the value in the show. So what do you think that Netflix misunderstood about the show's popularity?

CASTILLO: I don't - I'm not entirely convinced that Netflix knows how to advertise all of the shows that they have. They're adding to their service all at once. You know, a number of my friends who are also fans of the show mentioned that they didn't even know that there was a third season on even though they had watched the show on their account, and they love the show. And I was the one to tell them like, oh, well, did you see the new season because it didn't come up on their queue.

MCCAMMON: What do we know about the fan base for this show? I mean, do we know who's watching?

CASTILLO: Well, I think that social media campaign really let us know who is watching. And it wasn't just Latinos who were watching. It wasn't just folks who were there to support the queer characters on the show. It wasn't just one demographic. I think it really hit across many different corners of viewership.

MCCAMMON: Of course, the country's demographics are changing. What does this show's trajectory say about the value of diversity in Hollywood right now?

CASTILLO: I think there is a good push in Hollywood. I still wish it led to more shows and more movies being made by creators from marginalized communities and underrepresented communities. That's still a long process. And "One Day At A Time" really felt like a step forward in the right direction. So the fight for diversity in representation in Hollywood is far from over. "One Day At A Time" was just a test case for that.

MCCAMMON: And Monica Castillo, now that "One Day At A Time" is coming back, this time on Pop TV, what's something you hope to see more of?

CASTILLO: I'm really excited to see how they're going to continue to explore some of the social issues that they've brought up on the show. They have addressed racism and sort of anti-Latino sentiment that has been happening in politics and in culture. And they've directly addressed that. They've also, you know, brought up mental health issues in the Latino community, which is, you know, so rarely talked about. And, you know, it's given a lot of people and a lot of pieces that have since been written about the show a way to talk about it with their families.

MCCAMMON: Monica Castillo is the features editor for CherryPicks, a film website dedicated to female filmmakers and critics. Thank you so much.

CASTILLO: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.