Amid production shutdowns during the coronavirus pandemic, the Pop TV sitcom will resume production remotely on an animated special, set to air later this spring.
"In my 97 years, I've never known of a multi-cam comedy to animate a single episode as a special. Even this I get to experience," remarked legendary producer Norman Lear, who created the 1970s sitcom of the same name and serves as an executive producer on the new One Day at a Time, which came to Pop for its fourth season after being canceled by Netflix.
The animated special will center on conservative members of the Alvarez family coming to visit. When Penelope (Justina Machado) worries that they won't be able to stop bickering about politics and the upcoming election, the family plays out several strategies to get through the visit, which will be illustrated as fantasy sequences.
The cast -- which also includes Rita Moreno, Stephen Tobolowsky, Todd Grinnell, India de Beaufort, Isabella Gomez and Marcel Ruiz -- will all voice their own characters, with celebrity guests to be announced at a later date.
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"As we all know, it’s hard to keep One Day at a Time off the air," executive producer Gloria Calderón Kellett said while announcing the special. "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."
ET spoke with Gomez and Ruiz earlier this month, who said the cast were doing their best to stay in touch as their fourth season aired during the pandemic -- communicating via texts and live Zoom chats during the episodes.
"It still feels like we’re together watching it," Ruiz said, noting that he was especially bummed to have to take a break just as they were getting back into the swing of things. "We were halfway through the season, it was getting better every week, and now we took this break. It just feels a little weird, and we just want to be back. This season is so great, it’s been so much fun to film."
"This is the first time us as a cast has been on a network show, so like, texting about numbers and all that stuff after is so weird," Gomez added. "Just getting to do episode by episode is such a different thing... and we’re getting to live-tweet and we’ll do the Zoom or we’ll text ourselves during and we do all these Instagram Lives. It’s been a really nice thing to look forward to during quarantine."
One Day at a Time's mid-season finale airs Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Pop TV and will simulcast on TV Land.