Pop, the CBS-and Lionsgate-owned entertainment network, has been adding original comedies (such as Ali Wentworth’s Nightcap), unscripted shows (Big Brother After Dark) and, most recently, other networks’ hits (The Goldbergs) to the lineup since its conversion from TV Guide Network in 2014.
When it opted to increase its marketing spend on an Emmy nomination “For Your Consideration” campaign this year, though, the focus was on its first-ever original scripted show: Schitt’s Creek.
The fish-out-of-water comedy, from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., stars Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara and Dan Levy, whom Pop are backing as individuals for Emmy acting nods. Pop’s also backing the show for Outstanding Comedy Series and Dan Levy (son of Eugene) for outstanding writing.
Network president Brad Schwartz said the main focus is on O’Hara, well known to audiences from Christopher Guest’s movies, such as A Mighty Wind, and from Home Alone and SCTV, and who has won two Canadian Screen Awards for her role as matriarch Moira Rose in Schitt’s Creek.
Why O’Hara? “Because she deserves it,” Schwartz said, for her “sublime, heartfelt, character work in this fantastic series.” O’Hara also is loved in the industry, he said.
From a competitive standpoint, the categories of outstanding comedy series and lead actor in a comedy series are stacked, Schwartz said. But perennials Edie Falco of Nurse Jackie and Amy Poehler of Parks and Recreation are not in the running this year, their shows having ended, so “there is room to try” for O’Hara.
Pop said it’s spent more this year on trade ads and designed a clever mailer with Schitt’s Creek screeners, but don’t look for O’Hara and company on billboards in Los Angeles. “We will do our best with smaller budgets than everyone else, as we always do,” Schwartz said.