On American television, things get better. Generally at least.
As shows get renewed and gain popularity, season after season the budgets get a little bigger, the sets get a little more lavish, the writing a little more ambitious — we talk about the season one filter of RuPaul's Drag Race, and the improvement in Real Housewives wigs often. But apparently on Canadian television, what you get is what you've got.
In a new interview Schitt's Creek co-creator Dan Levy revealed that over the span of his hit show's six seasons, the budget pretty much stayed the same.
"I'm inherently a perfectionist, and the more people watched the show, I was aware that there was a certain level of expectation and that people were responding really positively to it," Levy told The Hollywood Reporter. "For me, it's like, 'How do we keep that momentum going and how do we continue to raise the bar, even though our budget never changed?' It went up in very small increments, year after year, but how do we communicate growth to our audience? They are expecting a more polished, glossy show from season to season, because that's just inherently how things tend to work in America."
And it's true. Though Schitt's Creek is a Canadian show, once it hit Netflix it slowly became a global phenomenon. In fact, the American fandom was such that the show was planning a 12-stop tour that was set to hit California, Florida, Connecticut, and New Jersey. That was canceled as the global pandemic spread but Schitt's still walked away with 15 Emmy nominations for its final season. So the expectations of the American market — and those who watch a lot of American television — understandably factored into Levy's conceptualizations of his own series.
"[In America if] you get four seasons of a show, you're working with a much bigger budget than you were in season one," Levy said. "For us, the budget stayed the same, so it was really about working extra hard to squeeze as much out of it as we possibly can. How do we keep expanding a small town when we don't have the budget for location shoots? The challenge just became harder and harder, but I think it was all the more rewarding. I have talked to people who just assumed that we just kept getting bigger and bigger budgets, and I have to kindly remind them that that's not how it works. We have a very small Canadian show."
Small show, huge impact!
The final season of Schitt's Creek is expected to drop on Netflix in September.