In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix Originals Vice President Cindy Holland doubled down on the streaming service's previously stated position that it canceled the beloved family comedy simply due to poor viewership — although, Netflix reserves releasing those sort of viewership numbers to the public. However, she also contended that they'd done what fans it did have a major favor by giving the series three seasons in the first place.
"The way I look at One Day at a Time is, it's a show that I was and am passionate about. I hope people discover the three seasons we have. I prefer to look at it as glass half full — we supported three seasons of a show that probably wouldn't have made it past season one any other place, if it had been made at all," she explained. "I'm not intending to be self-serving, I'm just trying to explain that is how we view taking the risk in the first place and trying to continue to support shows as long as we can. But at some point, we do need to look for other stories to tell that can garner bigger audiences."
When asked whether Netflix would allow the series to continue on CBS All Access, after that streaming service publicly offered to give it a new home for Season 4, Holland seemed to suggest that they would not. "We invested in three seasons and having a home at Netflix. We negotiated for specific rights in the deal, which we paid for. We paid for the show in its entirety, plus profit to Sony," Holland said. "They have the ability to sell it to broadcast and network, but we don't think that it's appropriate that it show up on a competitive streaming platform."
Netflix has, of course, become a revival home for several other series after they ended on their original networks, including Gilmore Girls, Arrested Development, Designated Survivor, and Lucifer, but Holland seems to be distinguishing re-homing shows from linear television networks on a streaming service versus a streaming-to-streaming transfer of ownership.
Meanwhile, One Day at a Time star Rita Moreno and executive producer Norman Lear released an open letter on The Hollywood ReporterWednesday which contained a blistering rebuke of Netflix's rationale for canceling the series.
"It wasn't that the show failed to serve underrepresented audiences or address real-life issues with heart. ... We're assured that we never once failed to advance Netflix's stated commitment to representing diversity in its content — yet, because of the data, we're on to 'next,'" they wrote. "So we've learned that evidently all the details are in the 'data.' We get it; corporations are responsible to their stockholders. And one could argue that it's the data — what we've known through the years as Nielsen ratings — that inevitably drives the decision-making process. But something is missing if that is the only criterion for survival of a show, the only data point, the only litmus test. Perhaps media has gone the way of managed care — the focus no longer patient and doctor, but bottom line."
Moreno and Lear added, "the Alvarez family is still looking for a home. And what we're hearing, according to the 'online data,' is that there happens to be an enormous audience hoping and praying we succeed."
One Day at a Time is available for streaming at Netflix.