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Justina Machado's taking it one day — and one step — at a time on 'Dancing with the Stars'

By Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

One of the reasons Justina Machado agreed to do "Dancing with the Stars" this season was because it gave her the opportunity to talk about her show "One Day at a Time," the fourth season of which is currently airing on CBS.

A reboot of the Norman Lear original, it's been one of the most consistently funny comedies on TV - and one of the only to feature a Latinx family at its center. The show began at Netflix, which wasn't able (or perhaps willing) to give the show the kind of high-profile promotion it needed. When Netflix pulled the plug, Pop TV stepped in and greenlit a fourth season - shot this past spring - which was truncated because of the pandemic.

Which leaves the show's fate up in the air. How well it does during this run on CBS will determine if it has a future.

The stories unfold in a cheerily modest apartment in LA. Machado plays a divorced mother of two who also lives with her own mother, played hilarious verve by Rita Moreno. "Hold on tight/we'll muddle through/one day at a time," the infectious theme song promises. Talk about encapsulating a moment.

Machado is a Chicago native and we spoke recently about "Dancing with the Stars," her hopes for "One Day at a Time" and the dearth of Latinx representation on TV.

Q: Why do you think it's been challenging to build a groundswell of awareness around "One Day at a Time"?

 

A: We haven't had enough marketing and that's a huge deal. But also I think that people get so caught up in thinking that it's a Latino show that they can't relate to. Which, to me, always blows my mind.

I'm born and raised in Chicago to Puerto Rican parents - I'm first generation - and I grew up watching quote-unquote "white" shows and I always found something to relate to. So we're trying to change that narrative of what you think our shows are about. What you think we're about.

I have people coming on my Instagram, now that I'm doing "Dancing with the Stars," and saying, "Oh my gosh, I didn't even know who you were and I didn't even know what this show was, but now I'm going to watch." I have people on "Dancing with the Stars" who are like, "What's that show?"

Q: Does that bug you, though?

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