“One Day at a Time” has found another way to produce a new, original episode in this time of quarantine: animation. Pop TV has picked up its first-ever animation special, an original “One Day at a Time” episode that will premiere later this spring.
The decision to produce an animated episode came after production of the multi-camera comedy was put on hold in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The show’s stars will voice their own characters, and they will be joined by celebrity guests announced at a later date.
While some single-camera comedies have produced animated episodes, executive producer Norman Lear said in a statement, “In my 97 years, I’ve never known of a multicam comedy to animate a single episode as a special. Even this I get to experience!”
Jonas Diamond, executive producer and co-owner of Smiley Guy Studios in Toronto, will oversee the animation. The episode was the idea of executive producer and co-showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett.
“As we all know, it’s hard to keep ‘One Day at a Time’ off the air,” Kellett said. “During this unprecedented time, we wanted to find a way to keep our family — on camera and behind the scenes — together and create more entertaining content for our fans who are self-distancing at home. This animated special gives us an exciting opportunity to imagine the Alvarez family in a colorful new way while continuing to tell important and relevant stories.”
News of the animated special comes as the sixth episode of Season 4, “Supermoon,” is set to air Tuesday night at 9:30 p.m. ET on Pop TV (and simulcast on TV Land). That now will serve as a “mid-season finale” until production can resume on the rest of the 13-episode season.
The animated “One Day at a Time” special centers around Penelope’s (Justina Machado) conservative family visiting. Per Pop TV, “Penelope dreads that with the election coming up, they won’t be able to avoid fighting over politics. The Alvarez family spends the episode discussing strategies of how to get through it, illustrated through fantasy sequences.”
The Sony Pictures TV series stars Machado, Rita Moreno, Stephen Tobolowsky, Todd Grinnell, India de Beaufort, Isabella Gomez and Marcel Ruiz. Act III Productions, Inc., Snowpants Prods. and GloNation produce, with Norman Lear, Mike Royce, Gloria Calderón Kellett and Brent Miller as executive producers.
“One Day at a Time” joins a handful of other scripted series that have found ways to do special episodes despite the production shutdown — but shows like CBS’ “All Rise,” Nickelodeon’s “Danger Force” and the return of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” are all utilizing video conferencing technology for their episodes.