Norman Lear Still Hopeful on ‘One Day at a Time’ Remake

CBS /Landov

Norman Lear still hopes to reboot his 1970s sitcom One Day at a Time with an all-Latino cast.

The iconic producer told reporters Saturday at the Television Critics Association press tour that he may be weeks away from knowing for sure whether such a revival will happen. TV Insider first broke the news in January that Lear was talking to Sony Pictures TV, which owns One Day at a Time, about the new show.

“I just love the idea because I don’t see enough of that representation on the air,” Lear said. “I don’t see it any place. There isn’t enough of it and I think it’s a rich idea.”

The new version would be tweaked from the original One Day at a Time, which aired on CBS from 1975 to 1984 and starred Bonnie Franklin as a divorced mother who moves with her daughters (Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli) to Indianapolis. The new version would include three generations in the same house: A maternal grandmother, in addition to a divorced mom and her two kids (which might be a boy and a girl).

Here’s what we wrote in January:

The new series would be produced in conjunction with Televisa USA, the English-language arm of Mexican media giant Televisa. No deal is finalized yet, but studio insiders confirm it’s being discussed as a possibility.

One Day at a Time was a situation comedy, but also tackled serious subjects, which was a signature trait of most Lear shows like All in the Family. Now, 40 years later, the producer still believes that TV should reflect demographic and cultural changes – hence the One Day twist. Not only would the new One Day at a Time embrace issues facing the Latino community, but the show’s original conceit tackled women’s empowerment, an issue just as pertinent today. Social advancement remains a key subject for Lear, who has raved in recent interviews about Amazon’s Transparent, which focuses on the transgender community.

This wouldn’t be the first One Day at a Time remake; Sony produced a Spanish-language adaptation, Solo en America, for Telemundo in the late 1990s. Meanwhile, Lear has said in recent interviews that he’s also kicking around a new take on All in the Family, although that’s not nearly as far along.

Meanwhile, Lear said he wasn’t up to speed on a film remake of another one of his sitcoms, Good Times. Kenya Barris, the co-creator of ABC’s black-ish, is working on that feature.

Lear was at the PBS portion of the press tour to promote an episode of American Masters, airing in 2016, that will chronicle his career. Asked about why he thought sitcom writers weren’t focusing on social topics the way he did in the 1970s, he responded, “My guess is they are fully capable of doing it but don’t elect to,” or that the networks don’t want to.

Lear also said his 1994 CBS show 704 Hauser, about an African-American family living in Archie Bunker’s old house, is the one that got away. And he admitted that despite his widely-known progressive views, he considered himself a social conservative. Or, as he put it, “I think of myself as a bleeding heart conservative. You will not f—k with my Bill of Rights.”

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