For the TV world, this was one of the year’s biggest news flashes:
The Pop network is rescuing “One Day at a Time.” It will have 13 new episodes next year.
OK, not everyone will consider it huge. Chances are, many people weren’t aware there is a Pop network or a “One Day” reboot. But ponder this from several standpoints:
— TV history. Norman Lear is the producer who sparked TV’s first golden age of comedy. Now he’s had a one-two shot – last month, ABC’s live show using “All in the Family” and “Jeffersons” scripts … and now this. In his statement, Lear said he was “heartbroken” when Netflix decided against a fourth season, and is now “overwhelmed with joy.”
— Diversity. This is a rare case of a Latina-centered story. It stars Justina Machado and 87-year-old Oscar-winner Rita Moreno (they’re shown here, center), with Gloria Calderon Kellett as the prime showrunner.
— Pop. In the first four years since it was transformed from the TV Guide Network, Pop has sputtered. Its one really good move was to become the U.S. home of “Schitt’s Creek,” the clever Canadian comedy. Consider the Television Critics Association awards: Last year, “One Day” was nominated as best comedy series; this year, “Schitt’s Creek” is nominated. Now Pop has both.
— And an answer to the broader question: Will anyone rescue a show from the rescuer?
In its early years, Netflix was saving shows that others had foolishly cancelled — “Arrested Development,” “Mystery Science Theatre,” “Mr. Show with Bob and David.” It also was a place for long-ago shows to be revived – some with the original stars (“Full House,” “Gilmore Girls”) and some not (“Lost in Space,” “One Day at a Time”).
But if Netflix then cancelled a show, all was lost … until now. In his statement, Lear noted that this is the first time a cable channel had rescued a streaming show: “Thank you to Pop for having the guts to be that first cable network. Even this I get to experience – at 96.”
That’s is a reference to his proposed gravestone inscription. But for now, there’s fresh life in his career: Next year, “One Day” will have 13 new episodes on Pop … then will rerun on CBS, which owns Pop.
Those will presumably be nex summer, the same way CBS is currently airing reruns of another streaming show (the terrific “The Good Fight”) on Sundays.
And after that? Well, we’ll take it one day at a time.