Schitt's Creek (stylized as Schitt$ Creek) is a Canadian television sitcom created by Dan and Eugene Levy that aired on CBC Television from January 13, 2015 to April 7, 2020. It consists of 80 episodes spread over six seasons. Produced by Not a Real Company Productions, the series follows the trials and tribulations of the formerly wealthy Rose family when they are forced to relocate to Schitt's Creek, a small town they once purchased as a joke. Now living in a motel, Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy) and Moira Rose (Catherine O'Hara)—along with their adult children, David (Dan Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy)—must adjust to life without money and with each other.
The series was conceived when Dan Levy wondered how the wealthy families frequently depicted on American reality television would react if they were stripped of all their money. He further developed the series with his father, Eugene, before pitching the series to several networks in Canada and the United States. The series was first sold to CBC Television in Canada and later to Pop TV in the United States, where it debuted on February 11, 2015.
Schitt's Creek received widespread acclaim, particularly for its writing, humor and acting. The series has won various accolades, including two ACTRA Awards and 18 Canadian Screen Awards. It is the first Canadian comedy series to be nominated for a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Comedy Series. It also received two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, including Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series and four Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series. O'Hara received both a SAG Award and Primetime Emmy Award nomination for her performance. For its portrayal of LGBTQ+ people, the series received a GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series.
The wealthy Rose family—video store magnate Johnny (Eugene Levy), his wife and former soap opera actress Moira (Catherine O'Hara), and their adult children David and Alexis (Dan Levy and Annie Murphy)—lose their fortune after being defrauded by their business manager. They are forced to rebuild their lives with their sole remaining asset: a small town named Schitt's Creek, which Johnny had bought for David as a joke birthday gift in 1991. The Roses relocate to Schitt's Creek, moving into two adjacent rooms in a run-down motel. As the family adjusts to their new lives, their well-to-do attitudes come into conflict with the more provincial residents of Schitt's Creek, including mayor Roland Schitt (Chris Elliott), his wife Jocelyn (Jenn Robertson), and the motel's manager Stevie Budd (Emily Hampshire).
Daniel Levy came up with the idea for the show while watching reality television. He told Out.com, “I had been watching some reality TV at the time and was concentrating on what would happen if one of these wealthy families would lose everything. Would the Kardashians still be the Kardashians without their money?” He turned to his father, Eugene Levy, to help develop the show; Eugene Levy came up with the series title. Daniel Levy decided to make the location of Schitt's Creek vague, but in August 2018 said that it is in Canada.
The Levys initially pitched the show to several networks in Canada and the United States. Cable networks HBO and Showtime passed on the series, while broadcast networks ABC (United States) and the CBC (Canada) expressed interest. The show was first sold to the CBC, but the Levys decided against ABC as its U.S. broadcaster due to the network's alleged history of creative interference. Schitt's Creek eventually found a U.S. home on Pop TV after striking a deal with network head Brad Schwartz, who had previously hired Daniel on MTV Canada.
During the early stages of development, various networks suggested the title of the show be changed to make it sound less vulgar. The Levys resisted these suggestions and argued “Schitt” was a legitimate last name. To prove their point, they brought pages copied from a phone book to the CBC showing listings for individuals with the “Schitt” surname. The CBC agreed and allowed the Levys to keep the original title. The name has still faced censorship issues during promotional tours in the United States, with many networks shortening the title or providing extra disclaimers before using it on-air.
Daniel Levy initially envisioned the series ending with season five, but agreed to a sixth season after receiving a two-year renewal following the show's fourth season.
Catherine O'Hara was the series creators' first choice for the role of eccentric family matriarch, Moira Rose. O'Hara had previously worked with Eugene Levy on SCTV, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, Waiting for Guffman, and For Your Consideration. She initially turned down Levy's offer to star in Schitt's Creek, citing “laziness” and an aversion to long-term projects. Levy reached out to another unnamed actress, but continued to court O'Hara for the role. O'Hara eventually agreed to participate in the presentation pilot with no obligation to continue in the role after Schitt's Creek was ordered to series. After the show was picked up by the CBC, O'Hara agreed to continue in the role.
Annie Murphy was offered the role of spoiled socialite Alexis Rose after actress Abby Elliott, who had portrayed the character in the presentation pilot, was unable to continue when the show was picked up to series, due to scheduling conflicts. Murphy first auditioned for the role in Los Angeles, where Daniel Levy said she stood out due to her “wonderfully natural likability.” Eugene Levy was unsure of Murphy's casting because she did not possess the blonde hair he had pictured for the role of Alexis. Murphy was subsequently called back for a second audition for a different role, sarcastic motel clerk Stevie Budd. After this audition, Daniel Levy convinced his father that Murphy could dye her hair blonde, and she was officially cast as Alexis Rose.
Schitt's Creek has been co-broadcast in Canada and the United States since 2015. The show initially premiered on the CBC in Canada on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 9:00 pm/9:30 pm NT with back-to-back episodes. It made its debut in the United States on Pop TV on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 10:00 pm ET/PT. Pop moved the series to an 8:00 pm ET/PT time slot with an encore broadcast at 11:00 pm ET/PT for seasons two through four; it returned to its original 10:00 pm ET/PT time slot for season five. The series maintained staggered premieres throughout its first five seasons, with new episodes debuting in Canada before being broadcast in the United States. This changed in the final season, with new episodes being broadcast simultaneously in Canada and the United States. The series finale aired on April 7, 2020 at 8:00 pm ET; it was followed by a one-hour behind-the-scenes retrospective documentary titled Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt's Creek Farewell. In the United States, the series finale was Schitt's Creek's highest-rated episode ever and simulcast on Logo TV and Comedy Central, which had recently become sibling networks to Pop TV through the ViacomCBS merger.
During the show's later seasons, the main cast participated in a series of interactive fan events. A live audience promotional tour known as Schitt's Creek: Up Close & Personal featuring cast members Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Dan Levy, Annie Murphy, Emily Hampshire, and Noah Reid premiered in September 2018 in Los Angeles. The event included behind-the-scenes stories; a live question and answer session with the cast; and an audience participation trivia game. Following the initial event's success, the tour was expanded to include stops in several additional U.S. and Canadian cities in 2019. Daniel Levy stated that the tour was meant to both promote the show and thank fans for their support.