One Day at a Time
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|One Day at a Time|
|Created by||Whitney Blake
|Developed by||Norman Lear|
|Theme music composer||Jeff Barry
|Opening theme||"This is It" performed by Polly Cutter|
|Ending theme||"This is It" (instrumental)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||209 (list of episodes)|
|Camera setup||Multi-camera setup, videotape|
|Running time||24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||T.A.T. Communications Company (1975–82)
Embassy Television (1982–84)
|Original release||December 16, 1975– May 28, 1984|
One Day at a Time is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from December 16, 1975, until May 28, 1984. It starred Bonnie Franklin as a divorced mother raising two teenage daughters, played by Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli, in Indianapolis.
The series was created by Whitney Blake and Allan Manings, a husband-and-wife writing duo who were both actors in the 1950s and 1960s. The series was based on Whitney Blake's own life as a single mother, raising her three children (Including future actress Meredith Baxter) after her divorce from her first husband.
Ann Romano, a divorced mother, moves from their home in Logansport, Indiana to Indianapolis with her daughters, the rebellious Julie and the wisecracking Barbara. Ann frequently struggles with maintaining her role as mother while affording her daughters the freedom she never had as a young woman. David Kane, Ann's divorce lawyer and neighbor, takes a romantic interest in her, but she isn't ready to remarry. Dwayne Schneider, the building's quirky superintendent (most often referred to only by his last name), provides usually unwanted advice to the tenants.
After David takes a job in Los Angeles, the focus squarely rests on Ann's dilemmas as a single mother and career woman as well as the girls' growing pains, with Schneider becoming a more welcomed part of the family. Ann's strained relationship with her ex-husband Ed slowly mends, as does the girls' relationship with his new wife, Vickie. Julie and Barbara advance through high school and into the working world, and Julie eventually marries flight attendant Max Horvath. Alex, the orphaned son of Ann's deceased boyfriend, moves in, changing the dynamics in the female-dominated apartment. Later in the series run, Julie gives birth to a daughter, "Little Annie" Horvath, Barbara marries dental student Mark Royer, and Ann's mother Katherine moves nearby.
In the penultimate episode, Ann decides to take a job in London, leaving her daughters in Indianapolis to raise families of their own. In the series finale, Schneider also leaves town, moving to Florida to take care of his niece and nephew.
For its entire run, the series was taped in Hollywood before a studio audience. Originally, it was taped at CBS Television City. Shortly after its premiere, the series began taping at Metromedia Square, where it remained until 1982. From 1982 to 1984, the series was taped at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Like many sitcoms developed by Norman Lear, One Day at a Time often tackled serious issues in life and relationships, particularly those related to second wave feminism. Stories depicting such events as weddings, births, and other important milestones frequently stretched over two-, three-, and four-part episodes.
Theme song and opening credits
The theme song for One Day at a Time, "This is It", was composed by Brill Building songwriter Jeff Barry and his wife Nancy Barry, and performed by recording artist Polly Cutter. The opening credits were originally seen over a filmed sequence showing Ann, Julie, and Barbara excitedly moving into their new home. Later, the opening credits sequence mostly consisted of clips of each cast member taken from previous episodes.
Actors Bonnie Franklin, Pat Harrington, Jr., and Valerie Bertinelli were the only cast members to remain with the series throughout its entire run. Lead actress Mackenzie Phillips was fired after the fifth season due to growing problems with substance abuse. She later returned in a frequent recurring role. Original cast member Richard Masur was written out early in the second season but returned as a guest star in the sixth-season finale.
After Masur's departure, the producers tried going in a different direction. Instead of Ann Romano being romantically involved with a man, it was decided to give Ann a comedic foil. For that role, producer Norman Lear chose actress and comedienne Mary Louise Wilson, who had just completed a successful run on Broadway as "Tessie Tura" in a revival of Gypsy starring Angela Lansbury. Wilson was signed to play Ginny Wroblicki, a cocktail waitress who moves into Schneider's apartment building, and immediately becomes Ann's best friend and confidante. According to her memoir, My First Hundred Years in Show Business, prior to being cast as Ginny, Wilson had never seen One Day at a Time and immediately sat down and watched an episode one night in her apartment. She did not find the sitcom funny at all and was not given a script until the first read-through of her first episode. Wilson also did not take to Franklin "who took her role as arbiter over moral issues very seriously" and who considered herself "our foremost authority on Broadway". She also thought that Harrington's character of Schneider was not funny at all, although she admitted Harrington, himself, was hilarious offscreen. Wilson wrote that "aside from Lear, nobody thought I was funny...To make matters worse each character, according to the show's formula, had to have a 'serious' moral dilemma at some point, and I was given some problem about an illegitimate child to work out in these increasingly sentimental scenes that made my bowels shrink." At the end of the second season of One Day at a Time, Wilson begged her agent to ask Lear to release her from her contract. Wilson later admitted, "I felt terribly wrong to be so miserable. I knew this was the kind of break actors longed for." Wilson was also unaccustomed to working on a sitcom with four cameras in front of a live audience where "you said your line when the red light on the camera went on...and there follows a pause longer than the river Styx before the light on camera four goes on" at which the character you're speaking to says the next line. After the meeting with her agent, Wilson impulsively changed her mind and agreed to stay with the series but it was too late. Her agent had already informed Norman Lear of Wilson's unhappiness. As a result, Lear released Wilson from the show after she had completed 14 episodes, and Ginny Wroblicki was never seen, referred to, or heard from again except in a fifth-season episode ("Retrospective") made up mainly of clips from earlier in the series..
For the next two seasons, the central cast of Ann, Julie, Barbara, and Schneider was supplemented by recurring characters, including William Kirby Cullen as Julie's boyfriend Chuck Butterfield; Howard Morton and K Callan as Chuck's parents; John Putch as Barbara's awkward friend Bob Morton; Scott Colomby as Barbara's boyfriend Cliff Randall; and John Hillerman and Charles Siebert as Ann's bosses, Mr. Connors and Mr. Davenport, respectively. Dick O'Neill and Nedra Volz made three appearances together as Orville and Emily, residents of the retirement home where the main characters put on a semi-regular variety show. Joseph Campanella also made several appearances as Ann's ex-husband and the girls' father, Ed Cooper.
Michael Lembeck joined the series as Julie's husband, Max, in the fifth season, but he was written out as a consequence of Phillips' firing. (But later returned in Season 7 along with Philips) A steady stream of regulars was added in the ensuing seasons, including Ron Rifkin as Ann's boyfriend, Nick; Glenn Scarpelli as Nick's son, Alex; and Boyd Gaines as Barbara's boyfriend, later husband, Mark. Shelley Fabares, who'd previously guest starred as Ann's rival co-worker Francine Webster, appeared more frequently, eventually becoming a regular. Nanette Fabray, who played Ann's mother, also made more frequent appearances before becoming a regular cast member in the final season. Howard Hesseman joined the series for a short time as Mark's father, Sam, who would become Ann's second husband.
Notable guest stars throughout the series run include Norman Alden, Robby Benson, Carla Borelli, Charlie Brill, Dennis Burkley, Jack Dodson, Elinor Donahue, David Dukes, Greg Evigan, Conchata Ferrell, Corey Feldman, Alice Ghostley, Lee Grant, Mark Hamill, Jim Hutton, Terry Kiser, Richard Kline, Christopher Knight, Jay Leno, Robert Mandan, Robert Morse, Denise Nicholas, J. Pat O'Malley, Jo Ann Pflug, Eve Plumb, Susan Richardson, William Schallert, Suzanne Somers, Ellen Travolta, Dick Van Patten, and Keenan Wynn.
|Bonnie Franklin||Ann Romano||Main|
|Mackenzie Phillips||Julie Cooper Horvath||Main||Recurring|
|Richard Masur||David Kane||Main||Guest|
|Valerie Bertinelli||Barbara Cooper Royer||Main|
|Pat Harrington, Jr.||Dwayne Schneider||Main|
|Mary Louise Wilson||Ginny Wroblicki||Main|
|Michael Lembeck||Max Horvath||Main||Recurring||Main|
|Ron Rifkin||Nick Handris||Main|
|Glenn Scarpelli||Alex Handris||Main|
|Boyd Gaines||Mark Royer||Recurring||Main|
|Shelley Fabares||Francine Webster||Guest||Guest||Recurring||Main||Recurring|
|Nanette Fabray||Katherine Romano||Guest||Recurring||Main|
|Howard Hesseman||Sam Royer||Recurring||Main|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||15||December 16, 1975||March 30, 1976|
|2||24||September 28, 1976||March 22, 1977|
|3||24||September 27, 1977||April 3, 1978|
|4||26||September 18, 1978||April 14, 1979|
|5||26||September 30, 1979||April 13, 1980|
|6||21||November 9, 1980||May 10, 1981|
|7||25||October 11, 1981||May 16, 1982|
|8||26||September 26, 1982||May 23, 1983|
|9||22||October 2, 1983||May 28, 1984|
The series consistently ranked among the top twenty (if not the top ten) programs in the ratings. However, the network moved the show around on the prime time schedule eleven times. By the end of the 1982–83 season, viewership was beginning to slip and the series ended season eight ranking at No. 16. At this time, Bonnie Franklin and Valerie Bertinelli were anxious to move on, but agreed to do a ninth (and final) season. (Although both were offered contracts for two seasons: a ninth and a tenth according to Bertinelli in her autobiography Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time.)
|TV Season||Time slot (ET)||Nielsen ratings|
|1975–76||Tuesday at 9:30 pm||12||23.1|
|1976–77||8||23.4 (Tied with The ABC Sunday Night Movie and Baretta)|
|1977–78||Tuesday at 9:30 pm (Episodes 1-15)
Monday at 9:30 pm (Episodes 16-24)
|1978–79||Monday at 9:30 pm (Episodes 1-13)
Wednesday at 9:00 pm (Episodes 14, 16-23)
Wednesday at 9:30 pm (Episode 15)
Sunday at 8:30 pm (Episodes 24-26)
|1979–80||Sunday at 8:30 pm (Episodes 1-17, 19-26)
Sunday at 8:00 pm (Episode 18)
|1980–81||Sunday at 8:30 pm (Episodes 1-9, 11-16, 19-21)
Sunday at 8:00 pm (Episode 10)
Sunday at 9:00 pm (Episode 17)
Sunday at 9:30 pm (Episode 18)
|1981–82||Sunday at 8:30 pm||10||22.0|
|1982–83||Sunday at 9:30 pm (Episodes 1-18)
Monday at 9:30 pm (Episodes 19-26)
|1983–84||Sunday at 8:30 pm (Episodes 1-6, 8-13)
Sunday at 9:00 pm (Episode 7)
Wednesday at 8:00 pm (Episodes 14-19)
Monday at 9:00 pm (Episodes 20-22)
Awards and honors
- 1981, 1982: Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film to Valerie Bertinelli
- 1982: Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series to Alan Rafkin
- 1984: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Comedy Series to Pat Harrington
CBS aired daytime reruns of the show for three years. From September 17, 1979, to February 1, 1980, it aired on the daytime schedule at 3:30 pm Eastern time; with the cancellation of Love of Life to accommodate the expansion of The Young and the Restless to one hour, it was moved on February 4, 1980, to 4 pm Eastern due to Guiding Light moving to 3 pm. On September 28, 1981, it moved to 10 am Eastern time, and on September 20, 1982, it was replaced by The $25,000 Pyramid.
Logo TV started airing episodes in April 2017.
The One Day at a Time Reunion was a 60-minute CBS retrospective special which aired on Tuesday February 22, 2005, at 9:00 pm ET, reuniting Bonnie Franklin, Mackenzie Phillips, Valerie Bertinelli, and Pat Harrington to reminisce about the series and their characters. Regular cast members Richard Masur, Shelley Fabares, Nanette Fabray, Michael Lembeck, and Glenn Scarpelli shared their feelings about their time on the show in separate interviews. The special was included as a bonus on One Day at a Time: The Complete First Season DVD set.
On February 26, 2008, Franklin, Phillips, Bertinelli, and Harrington reunited once again to talk about life on the set, Phillips' drug problems, and the show's theme song on NBC's Today Show as part of a week-long segment titled "Together Again: TV's Greatest Casts Reunited".
Bertinelli, Harrington, and (on tape) Franklin appeared on the September 10, 2008, episode of Rachael Ray to celebrate Ray's 40th birthday.
In 2011, Franklin reunited again with Bertinelli on an episode of Hot in Cleveland which marked one of Franklin's last acting roles before her death in 2013. Mackenzie Phillips and Pat Harrington Jr. also made individual cameos on the series.
One Day at a Time was awarded the Innovation Award on the 2012 TV Land Award show on April 29. Accepting the award were Valerie Bertinelli, Bonnie Franklin, Pat Harrington Jr., Richard Masur, Mackenzie Phillips, and Glenn Scarpelli.
On September 7, 2017, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the rights to the series and released One Day at a Time - The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 on December 5, 2017. Season 2 is scheduled for release on March 27, 2018.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|The Complete First Season||15||April 24, 2007|
|The Complete Second Season||24||March 27, 2018|
|The Complete Series||209||December 5, 2017|
Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce developed a new version of the series, with a Latino cast, for Netflix, beginning in 2017. The ensemble is led by Justina Machado, with Rita Moreno, Stephen Tobolowsky, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz, and Todd Grinnell in supporting roles. Pam Fryman directed the pilot episode.
- Mike Celizic (February 26, 2008). "Cast of 'One Day at a Time' reunites on TODAY". msnbc.msn.com. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
- Wilson, Mary Louise. My First Hundred Years, pp. 133-139. Overlook Press. c. 2015, 2016
- Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (Ninth Edition). Ballantine Books. pp. 1687–1690. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
- "Barbara's Crisis". TV.com. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- "Awards for "One Day at a Time"". IMDb. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- Schedule - Antenna TV
- One Day at a Time - CONFIRMED! 'The Complete Series' DVDs in 2017 from Shout! 27-disc package with all nine seasons will be at stores in early December
- One Day at a Time - Shout!'s Street Date for a Separate 'Season 2' Set. 3-DVD release will be available near the end of March
- "Netflix Orders 'One Day At A Time' Latino Remake Series Co-Starring Rita Moreno". Deadline. January 1, 2016.
- Andreeva, Nellie (February 22, 2016). "'One Day At A Time': Justina Machado To Play The Lead In Netflix Series Remake". Deadline.
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 2, 2016). "'One Day At a Time': Stephen Tobolowsky Cast In Netflix Latino Family Remake". Deadline.
- Andreeva, Nellie (April 19, 2016). "'One Day At a Time': Todd Grinnell Cast As Schneider In Netflix Series Remake". Deadline.
- Andreeva, Nellie (February 5, 2016). "Pam Fryman Sets 3 Pilot Directing Gigs". Deadline.
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