One Day at a Time

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One Day at a Time
One Day At A Time title screen.jpg
Genre Sitcom
Created by Whitney Blake
Allan Manings
Developed by Norman Lear
Directed by Norman Campbell
Herbert Kenwith
Sandy Kenyon
Howard Morris
Noam Pitlik
Alan Rafkin
Don Richardson
Tony Singletary
Starring Bonnie Franklin
Mackenzie Phillips
Richard Masur
Valerie Bertinelli
Pat Harrington
Mary Louise Wilson
Boyd Gaines
Michael Lembeck
Theme music composer Jeff Barry
Nancy Barry
Opening theme "This Is It" performed by Polly Cutter
Ending theme "This is It" (instrumental)
Composer(s) Jeff Barry
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 9
No. of episodes 209 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Dick Bensfield
Jack Elinson
Perry Grant
Mort Lachman
Norman Lear
Alan Rafkin
Bud Wiseman
Producer(s) Dick Bensfield
Patricia Fass Palmer
Perry Grant
Katherine Green
Allan Manings
Bud Wiser
Running time 24 minutes
Production company(s) T.A.T. Communications Company (1975–82)
Embassy Television (1982–84)
Distributor T.A.T. Communications Co. (1980–82)
Embassy Telecommunications (1982–86)
Embassy Communications (1986–88)
Columbia Pictures Television (1988–95)
Sony Pictures Television (2002–present)
Original channel CBS
Audio format Monaural
Original release December 16, 1975 (1975-12-16) – May 28, 1984 (1984-05-28)

One Day at a Time is an American situation comedy that aired on the CBS network from December 16, 1975, until May 28, 1984, starring Bonnie Franklin as a divorced mother raising her two teenage daughters, played by Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli, in Indianapolis. It also starred Pat Harrington.

The show was created by Whitney Blake and Allan Manings, a husband-and-wife writing duo who were both actors in the 1950s and 1960s. The show was based on Whitney Blake's own life as a single mother, raising her child, future actress Meredith Baxter.[1] The show was developed by Norman Lear and was produced by T.A.T. Communications Company (1975–82), Allwhit, Inc., and later Embassy Television (1982–84).

Like many shows developed by Lear, One Day at a Time was more of a comedy-drama, using its half hour to tackle serious issues in life and relationships, particularly those related to second wave feminism.


Ann Romano, a divorced mother, moves to Marion County, west-side Indianapolis, with her daughters, Julie and Barbara Cooper. Dwayne Schneider (Harrington), often simply called "Schneider", is their apartment building's "super". David Kane (Masur) is Ann's boyfriend and later fiancé, until season two. In season five, Julie marries Max Horvath (Lembeck). In season six, Ann's business partner, Nick Handris, becomes a love interest. He has a son named Alex. The following season, Alex comes to live with the Romano family. Barbara meets and falls in love with dental student Mark Royer. In season eight, they get married, and Mark’s father, Sam (Howard Hesseman) starts dating Ann. By mid-season, Ann and Sam became engaged and at the end of the season, get married. By this time, the series is divided into two running plots: Ann and Sam's married life together, and the lives of the two married couples (Julie and Max – and their baby daughter Annie – with Barbara and Mark) sharing a house together. Grandma Katherine Romano also joins the Royer-Horvath household.

The penultimate episode aired on May 21, 1984 (season 9), where the remarried Ann leaves Indianapolis and her family to take a job in London. In the series finale, "Another Man’s Shoes", Schneider moves to Florida to take care of his niece and nephew.





Although set in Indianapolis, the show was taped in various Los Angeles locations during its run. In 1975, it was taped at CBS Television City. Later that year, the series began taping at Metromedia Square, where it remained until 1982. From 1982 to 1984, the series was taped at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Theme song[edit]

The theme song for One Day at a Time, "This is It", was composed by Brill Building songwriter Jeff Barry, and performed by RCA recording artist Polly Cutter.


During its nine seasons, there was a great deal of turnover in the cast. When it first premiered, Richard Masur was featured as a regular as Ann's boyfriend/fiancé. Masur continued in the role until his character was written out of the show. The week after Masur left, Mary Louise Wilson was brought in as Ginny Wrobliki, a cocktail waitress living in Ann's apartment building. Wilson remained with the show for the latter part of season two. At this time, John Hillerman and Charles Siebert began to make appearances as Ann's employers Mr. Connors and Mr. Davenport, respectively. Hillerman ultimately made a few guest appearances, but Siebert ended up as a recurring cast member for the next three seasons.

In season five, Michael Lembeck was cast as Julie's husband. However, in mid-season, Mackenzie Phillips along with Lembeck, left the show.

In season six, Nanette Fabray (as Ann's mother Katherine Romano) and Fabray's real-life niece Shelley Fabares (as Ann's nemesis Francine Webster) became semi-regulars. Ron Rifkin and Glenn Scarpelli also joined the cast as Nick and Alex.

At the start of season seven, Ron Rifkin left the show (the character died), but Glenn Scarpelli remained for the next two seasons. During this time, Mackenzie Phillips and Michael Lembeck began making frequent guest appearances. Toward the end of the season, Barbara met and fell in love with dental student Mark Royer, played by Boyd Gaines. Gaines was quickly signed as a regular.

For season nine, Glenn Scarpelli left the show to co-star in an NBC sitcom Jennifer Slept Here. After taping episode three, Mackenzie Phillips again left the show. However, Lembeck (as Max) stayed on and Nanette Fabray was finally added to the cast as a full-time regular. During the final season, Bonnie Franklin limited her appearances on the show, but made her directorial debut with two episodes – "Ave Romano" and "The Nearness of You".

Joseph Campanella made occasional guest appearances throughout the show’s run as Ed Cooper, Ann's ex-husband and father to Julie and Barbara. In addition, actor John Putch (the son of actress Jean Stapleton) was featured in thirteen episodes as Barbara's friend Bob Morton.


Season Episodes Originally aired
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 highest the show ever got in the Nielsen ratings was No. 8 during the 1976–77 season, when it tied with the ABC Sunday Night Movie and Baretta.

It was best known in the 1980s as a staple of the CBS Sunday-night lineup, one of the most successful in TV history, along with Archie Bunker's Place, Alice, and The Jeffersons.

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 11 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.

Available annual ratings are:

  • 1975–1976: #12[2]
  • 1976–1977: #8[3]
  • 1977–1978: #10[4]
  • 1978–1979: #18[5]
  • 1979–1980: #10[6]
  • 1980–1981: #11[7]
  • 1981–1982: #10[8]
  • 1982–1983: #16[9]
  • 1983-1984: #47

Awards and honors[edit]


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.

Soon after, the show entered off-network syndication, airing on local stations around the country, and nationally on WGN, TBS, and the E! Network.

As of April 6, 2015, the series airs nightly on the digital broadcast network Antenna TV.[12]

Cast reunions[edit]

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. Recurring 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.

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.

DVD release[edit]

On April 24, 2007, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the first season of One Day at a Time on DVD in Region 1. It is unknown if the remaining eight seasons will be released at some point.


  1. ^ Mike Celizic (February 26, 2008). "Cast of ‘One Day at a Time’ reunites on TODAY". Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  2. ^ " TV Ratings > 1970's". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  3. ^ " TV Ratings > 1970's". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  4. ^ " TV Ratings > 1970's". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  5. ^ " TV Ratings > 1970's". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  6. ^ " TV Ratings > 1970's". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  7. ^ " TV Ratings > 1980's". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  8. ^ " TV Ratings > 1980's". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  9. ^ " TV Ratings > 1980's". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "Barbara's Crisis". Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "Awards for "One Day at a Time"". IMDb. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Schedule - Antenna TV

External links[edit]