Netflix announced that they have canceled One Day at a Time after three seasons. The show first aired on the platform in January 2017. The announcement is devastating to its fanbase as well as its cast and crew. Rita Moreno, who plays the live-in matriarch of the family, tweeted, “I am grieving for the terrible loss of my beloved character, Lydia, on ‘@OneDayAtATime.” She praised ODAAT’s co-creators and the show’s original creator Norman Lear for their work and brilliance, before signing off as a currently retired diva. “I’m not entirely sure how I’ll manage without the ability to exercise that manic, theatrical side of me that’s been loitering on the edges of my life for years looking for a home.”
News of the cancelation has reverberated across the media; avid fans immediately took up social media campaigns and ODATT petitions to save the show from being lost forever, while several major news publications put out op-eds that were critical of how Netflix made its announcement. The platform ultimately attributed their decision to low viewership. “We spent several weeks trying to find a way to make another season work,” the company wrote, “but in the end simply not enough people watched to justify another season.”
Fans are not able to confirm whether or not that is true because Netflix does not publish its viewership numbers, but many people asked why the show had not been promoted more, especially if it was at risk of cancellation. “Hot off an expensive Oscars campaign for Roma, the company has been touting itself as a platform for diverse voices, but that commitment feels hollow when one of its most inclusive shows was given so few opportunities to find an audience,” wrote the television editor of The Atlantic.
The chief television critic of the New York Times, James Poniewozik, was critical of the way that the platform positioned itself as a “disappointed fan, rather than a business that made a choice.” In its cancellation statement, Netflix seemed to pat itself on the back for having run a show that featured a working class Cuban-American family, a single mother struggling with PTSD following military service, a teen asserting her non-binary gender identity despite her immigrant grandmother’s traditional views, a neighbor struggling with substance abuse: “[We] must continue finding ways to tell these stories.” Poniewozik responded with sarcastic advice, “Hey, I found a way for you! Keep making the great story you already have, using the same money gusher you used to pay $100 million for reruns of “Friends”! Friends comes up front and center on the platform’s landing page in case America hasn’t had enough of its TBS reruns.
Lin-Manuel Miranda stepped into the conversation on social media to give his two cents. He tweeted, “Yknow, that Latinx audience is SO vast and SO underserved…if only we had a show that we KNOW would have a passionate, young fanbase…”-Every TV exec everywhere. Us: Haaaave you met #ODAAT”. He attached a gif of Rita Moreno dramatically opening the privacy curtains that separate her makeshift bedroom from the rest of the family’s living room. He also made sure to tweet at Hulu, Amazon, NBC, ABC, and CBS, in case one of the networks should decide to pick up where Netflix is leaving off. The co-creators of the show are actively looking to place ODAAT elsewhere.