One Day at a Time

The #1 show on TV this week ( June 12-18, 1978 ) in 1978 was One Day at a Time. The show was one of the many programs that were produced by Norman Lear in the seventies. Like most of the others, One Day at a Time aired on CBS.

The show was about a recently divorced mom who moved with her two daughters from Logansport, Indiana to an apartment in Indianapolis. The series was created by Whitney Blake and Allan Mannings, a married writing team. The show was based on Blake’s life as a divorced mom with kids. Blake was also an actress who played the mom on the sixties sitcom, Hazel. One Day at a Time was different from most other sitcoms focused on a family in that the single parent was not widowed but divorced.

The show starred Bonnie Franklin as the mom, Ann Romano with Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli as her two teenage daughters. The show also starred Pat Harrington Jr. as Schneider, the apartment building’s superintendent. Various other characters came and went throughout the show’s nine-year run. Phillips was fired in 1980 due to drug issues and was rehired a few years later. She collapsed on the set in 1983 and afterward refused to take a drug test and was fired.

First wave Gen Xers might have been a bit young to watch the show when it premiered in 1975, but the show stayed on the air until they were in high school or just starting college in 1984. Many Gen X members did grow up with the show via the reruns that CBS aired on weekday afternoons from 1979-1982. The show is remembered for being one of the first to feature a divorced parent as the main character, for launching the stardom of Phillips and Bertinelli and for the various hot button social issues of the time that were discussed on the show.

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