In 1975, Norman Lear developed One Day at a Time, the CBS sitcom starring Bonnie Franklin, Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips. More than four decades after its premiere, the show is still viewed as one of the most iconic series to hit the small screen.
In One Day at a Time, Bonnie starred as Ann Romano, a divorced mother to two teenage daughters, Julie and Barbara, played by Mackenzie and Valerie. Pat Harrington Jr. portrayed their building’s superintendent, Dwayne Schneider.
Throughout the show’s nine-season run, viewers got to see Julie and Barbara grow up and start their own families while launching their careers. At the end of the series in 1984, Ann moved to London with her husband, Sam Royer, who was played by Howard Hesseman.
Other notable faces who appeared on the family-centric show included Mary Louise Wilson, Michael Lembeck, Ron Rifkin, Glenn Scarpelli, Nanette Fabray and more.
In July 2020, several members of the original cast and producers reunited for an interview on the Stars in the House YouTube series. Mackenzie remembered the early days of developing the show and how the storyline almost went in a completely different direction.
“I remember, and I don’t know if you guys know this, but we did a pilot where Bonnie Franklin’s character had one child — me,” she recalled. “It’s actually up on YouTube, and I can’t remember what it was called but I’m sure [producer Patricia Fass Palmer] remembers.”
Patricia revealed that the show was initially slated to be called Hello, Ann.
“And the network saw the pilot and they were like, ‘Uh, yeah. Not this one,’” Mackenzie continued. “And then Valerie became my baby sister, and we had a hit.”
In January 2017, a new iteration of One Day at a Time, which was executive produced by Norman, debuted on Netflix. The series featured a new ensemble cast, with Justina Machado, Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gomez, Rita Moreno and more. The sitcom ran for four seasons before ending its run in June 2020. Valerie explained why she did not end up making a cameo on the show despite fan speculation.
“It’s just been scheduling issues, that’s really all it’s been,” the Golden Globe winner told Entertainment Weekly in May 2020. “We were almost able to work something out. I had one day off, and I was flying in the night before and I had to start my show the next day and I think it was just too much. I don’t just want to go in and do just one day. I haven’t acted in five years, and I wanted to have the script for more than one day.”
Scroll below to see what happened to the original cast of One Day at a Time.
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