Debmar-Mercury has acquired the broadcast syndication rights to Pop TV’s Schitt’s Creek, which is created by and stars father and son Eugene and Daniel Levy. Season five of the series, which has been renewed by both Pop and Canada’s CBC, is currently in production.
The Lionsgate-owned company will shop the series to TV stations for a fall 2020 debut.
“It is not every day you can walk into a TV station with a comedy this good, with a cast this talented and be able to point to the kind of ratings growth, social buzz and critical acclaim that Schitt’s Creek has generated,” said Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, co-presidents of Debmar-Mercury, in a statement. “We enter the off-network market as this renewed series is coming off of its highest-rated season in the U.S. and four consecutive seasons of audience growth.”
According to Debmar-Mercury, Schitt’s Creek out-delivered its season one average by 116% in adults 18-49, 76% in adults 25-54 and 81% in total viewers through March 2018. That said, the show’s ratings on Pop TV are very low, with the series averaging a .08 among adults 18-49 and 275,000 viewers in season four, which concluded on April 11.
That can be an advantage when taking a show into syndication because the show hasn’t already been seen by many viewers, so it can serve almost as original programming for TV stations. Stations need new ways to program themselves as studios back out of the business of producing first-run programs explicitly for TV stations and the number of comedies coming off of broadcast networks continues to thin. That said, low-rated shows rarely turn into high-rated shows once they come to syndication.
Schitt’s Creek tells the story of a once-wealthy family who is forced to move to the small town they once bought as a joke. Besides the Levys, the show stars Catherine O’Hara and Chris Elliott, alongside breakout stars Annie Murphy and Emily Hampshire.
Commissioned by CBC, Schitt’s Creek is produced by Not A Real Company Productions Inc. and created by Eugene Levy and Daniel Levy. The executive producers are Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy, Andrew Barnsley, Fred Levy, David West Read and Ben Feigin.
Schitt’s Creek is produced in association with CBC and Pop TV, and distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
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Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.