Netflix Cancels 'One Day At A Time'
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Fans of the Netflix show "One Day At A Time" are still feeling disappointed and confused about the show's cancellation. It's a reboot of the popular '70s TV show of the same name about a single mom raising two kids. In the new version, the family is Cuban-American, and one of the kids is gay.
Netflix says it's not renewing the series because not enough people watched it. We'll never know for sure because Netflix doesn't release its numbers. That is not what bothers Rolling Stone's chief TV critic Alan Sepinwall.
ALAN SEPINWALL: Netflix, when it originally started out, it had this reputation as sort of, you know, your TV buddy. We're not going to do the things that, you know, the traditional networks have done. We're not going to cancel shows. In fact, we're going to save shows that have been canceled elsewhere because we want you to enjoy the things you love forever and ever.
And over the last year, they've canceled a lot of things. And "One Day At A Time" is just one of them, but it's the one where there seems to be the most hue and cry because it was a really good show for a very underserved audience.
MARTIN: Doesn't that just signify that early on you have to differentiate yourself? And Netflix differentiated itself by being, you know, the indie, small house kind of alternative platform. And then with more and more success, it becomes the mainstream gig in town.
SEPINWALL: Yeah. That's certainly true. And again, if they weren't making enough money on "One Day At A Time," they can cancel it. It's a business. I understand that. I'm not going to suggest that they were in some way wrong to do it. But there was something disingenuous about the way in which they did it. Then the Netflix Twitter account followed up with a statement saying, you know, to the Latinx or LGBTQ or whatever sort of slice of the demographics of the show we're watching, saying, you were seen, it's important for these kinds of stories to be told - at the same time that they were canceling a show that was telling these kinds of stories.
They could have easily kept this on at a loss, if they'd wanted to, if they did genuinely feel like these stories were that important to tell. But instead, they're still, despite being the biggest game in town, trying to act like the plucky underdog. And I think that turned a lot of people off.
MARTIN: The show was political. I mean, it didn't shy away from really difficult issues, took sharp aim at President Trump on several occasions. Did that play into Netflix's decision to cancel it, do we have any idea?
SEPINWALL: I don't get any sense that Netflix canceled it over the political content. If anything, the political content is one of the reasons why they treated this cancellation a bit differently and a bit more gently than they ordinarily do - because there were not a lot of shows out there about a Latin American family with a predominantly Latinx cast dealing with these issues about immigration, LGBTQ issues. You know, every episode has some kind of hot-button subject. You know, one of the characters is a recovering alcoholic. Another has PTSD from serving in the military. So it touched on a lot of things.
And that was one of the things the audience loved about it. I don't think, based on a lot of the other content Netflix has, that that would have been a reason to get rid of it. I think it was purely a financial decision or, you know, whatever the finances actually were.
MARTIN: And the show can't just get plucked up by someone else.
SEPINWALL: Yeah. The irony is Netflix, you know, built its reputation, in part, on rescuing canceled shows elsewhere. They still do it. But they have a clause in the contract with all of their shows from outside studios saying, you're not allowed to go to another streaming platform for several years, which basically makes it impossible because actors, you know, move on to other projects. Everybody moves on. And the audience moves on. So if, you know, "One Day At A Time" can't close a deal to return by sometime in 2020, the show will cease to exist.
MARTIN: Alan Sepinwall is chief TV critic at Rolling Stone. Alan, thanks so much.
SEPINWALL: Thanks for having me.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.