One Day at a Time

From Academic Kids

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Opening titles from 1976.

One Day at a Time was a long-running American situation comedy which aired on CBS from December 16, 1975 to May 28, 1984. 209 half-hour episodes were aired.

The show was created by Whitney Blake and Allan Manings, a husband-and-wife writing duo who were both actors in the 1950s and 1960s. The show was developed by Norman Lear, who had many hits to his name in the 1970s.



The show starred Bonnie Franklin as Ann Romano (formerly Cooper), a woman who divorced her husband and moved back to her hometown of Indianapolis with her two daughters: Julie (played by Mackenzie Phillips) and Barbara (played by Valerie Bertinelli).

The superintendent of Ann's apartment building, Dwayne Schneider (played by Pat Harrington, Jr.) dropped by every so often to help Ann or her children in their various dilemmas. One of Schneider's running gags was his attempts to hide that his middle name was "Florenz" (pronounced like "Florence," he was given that middle name in honor of Florenz Ziegfeld).

The show was unique for its time in its mixture of a sitcom format with elements more commonly associated with drama series or made-for-TV movies of the week, including multi-week storylines dealing with social issues such as suicide and premarital sex. This format was lampooned on The Rerun Show as being a very special episode sort of series.

Real-life drama

Series star Mackenzie Phillips became addicted to cocaine, and was fired in 1980 after many highly publicized absences from the set. She returned in 1981 but fell off the wagon again, and was fired a second time in 1983.


The basic setup of the show underwent many convoluted twists.

After her divorce, Ann Romano and her daughters moved into an Indianapolis apartment building and Ann got a job as an account executive at the advertising firm of Coopers & Davenport. During the 1979-1980 season, Julie moved away to Houston with her airline steward husband Max Horvath (played by Michael Lembeck); this plot device was written in so that Mackenzie Phillips could undergo drug rehab.

During the 1980-1981 season, Ann left her advertising job and went into freelance business with Nick Handris (played by Ron Rifkin). Ann became romantically involved with Nick, but Nick died in a car wreck caused by a drunk driver, at which point Ann started raising Nick's teenage son, Alex (played by Glenn Scarpelli).

During the 1981-1982 season, Ann went into business with her ex-nemesis at Coopers & Davenport, Francine Webster (played by Shelley Fabares); Julie and Max moved back to Indianapolis; and Barbara got involved with Mark Royer, a dental student (played by Boyd Gaines). During the 1982-1983 season, Ann married Mark's divorced father, Sam (played by Howard Hesseman of WKRP in Cincinnati fame) and the two daughters moved into a house together.

Julie was written out of the show again in 1983, with the plot line this time being that she deserted her family and disappeared. The show ended with Ann moving to London with Sam and Schneider moving to Florida to take care of his orphaned nephew and niece.


The highest the show ever got in the Nielsen ratings was #8 during the 1976-1977 season, when it tied with the ABC Sunday Night Movie and Baretta, but it consistently placed in the Top 10 or Top 20 of the Nielsens. However, the network moved the show around on the prime time schedule no less than 11 times.


One Day at a Time was aired on E! Entertainment Television in the early and mid-1990s, at first in the afternoons and then, as time went on, earlier and earlier in the morning. Eventually, the show left the network entirely and hasn't been aired nationally since.

2005 reunion show

On February 22, 2005, CBS broadcast in primetime a one-hour program entitled The One Day at a Time Reunion Special, on which clips from One Day at a Time were shown and the major stars of the program reminiscenced about the series nearly 30 years after it had debuted.

External link

Museum of Broadcast Communications page on One Day at a Time (


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