Pop TV President Celebrates 'Schitt's Creek' Emmy Breakthrough: "Holy S***!"

The CBS-owned cabler lands a best comedy series nod and acting kudos for Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy for its flagship series.
Pop TV
Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara in 'Schitt's Creek'

Schitt's Creek and Pop TV broke through at the 71st Emmy nominations, securing the show's and the network's first-ever nominations for the awards.

The cult comedy earned one of the seven nominations for outstanding comedy series, alongside past winners Veep and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, repeat nominee Barry and fellow first-timers Fleabag, The Good Place and Russian Doll. Stars Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara also received lead-acting nods, and the show was nominated for costume design.

"I'm sweating, I'm so excited," Brad Schwartz, president of Pop TV, told The Hollywood Reporter. Schwartz was on his way out of town to celebrate his wedding anniversary but said he fired off "holy shit!" emails to Levy, O'Hara and Dan Levy, who co-created the series with his dad.

"We certainly had hopes [for nominations], and we knew we were in the discussion," Schwartz said. "Our marketing and PR team, everyone went into the office early today just in case. We hoped, but we also realized that for an emerging network like Pop that's only been around for four years, that it was a long shot. But we knew we were in [the mix]."

Eugene Levy was less confident — and began his day Tuesday with a subpar experience at a car-repair shop before he started getting phone calls about the nominations. 

"A very bland morning turned into something just totally, exceptionally surreal," Levy told THR. "To be honest, I still thought our chances were slim, just because I wasn't sure entirely how much our show was being watched by people in the industry. I knew the perception of the show was getting out there over the last couple of years in a nice, big way, but I was somewhat shell-shocked."

Levy and O'Hara have both won Emmys for writing during their time on SCTV.This is the first acting nomination for Levy and the second for O'Hara (she was also nominated for HBO's Temple Grandin on 2010). Like her co-star, O'Hara told THR she kept her expectations in check.

"I was in a movie called For Your Consideration, and I'm really trying not to be the character I was in that movie," she said with a laugh. "I can't deny that I was aware of it, and of course you think, 'Hey why not?' But I kept my expectations way down. And what a lovely surprise! I was blown away, and I'm especially happy for the show."

Schitt's Creek wrapped filming on its sixth and final season a few weeks ago (it's scheduled to air on Pop in 2020). Levy said the last days filming on each of the show's standing sets got "very emotional," particularly when cast and crew closed down the motel set that's been part of the show throughout its run. 

O'Hara holds out some hope that the Roses might someday return: "It's sad to say goodbye, and I'm sure if people want the show to go on they're not going to be totally satisfied with it ending in any way," she said. "But it's a good goodbye. And who knows? Maybe we'll do a movie someday or something, or a special. I'm sure we're all open to whatever possibilities we're lucky enough to be given."

Pop made headlines in late June with its acquisition of critical favorite One Day at a Time after Netflix canceled it. The channel's series Florida Girls premiered last week to very positive reviews from critics. Schwartz said the Emmy nods for Schitt's Creek — which he said has a lot of fans within the industry — despite the lack of a huge marketing push, speaks to just how "special" the series is.

"For a show to break through on a, call it a smaller network, a show has to be that much more special," he said. "To not be on HBO or Showtime or Netflix, to not have the marketing budgets and FYC campaigns those organizations can put behind [their shows] and to break through not just with best show, but best actor, best actress, best costumes, I feel like the show has to be that much more special. They made something that was so fantastic, it didn't matter where it was. People found it and loved it."

July 17, 9:55 a.m. An earlier version of this story misstated the number of Emmy nominations Catherine O'Hara has for acting.