TORONTO — Daniel Levy once said he wanted “Schitt’s Creek” to go out on a “nice, natural high.”
Tuesday’s Emmy Award nominations helped cement that goal.
The Canadian show about a formerly wealthy family living a more humble life in a small town is up for a whopping 15 Emmys for its sixth and final season, including best comedy series.
Stars Eugene and Daniel Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and Annie Murphy are also nominated for their roles as the eccentric Rose clan in the Ontario-shot CBC series, which aired on Pop TV in the U.S.
“We got to do our last season and end it the way we wanted,” O’Hara said in a phone interview from her Ontario cottage, minutes after the nominations were announced in a virtual presentation.
“Then people were trapped in their homes and had to watch it,” laughed the Toronto-raised comedy star, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic that hit as the final season was airing.
“And lucky us, this is just a beautiful bonus to a great experience.”
O’Hara stars as dramatic matriarch and actress Moira, alongside Hamilton-raised Eugene Levy as placid patriarch and motel co-manager Johnny. Toronto-raised Daniel Levy plays their son and boutique shop owner David, while Murphy plays their publicist daughter Alexis.
The Levys also co-created the series and share in the nomination for best comedy.
The father-and-son duo announced in March 2019 that the show would end after season 6, noting it had reached its inevitable conclusion. The final episode aired this past April.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better send-off,” Murphy said Tuesday from Toronto, in a joint phone interview with O’Hara.
“I would do this show until the cows come home. But also, I think it’s so rare that a show gets to finish on its own terms.”
Daniel Levy is also a contender in the Emmy categories of directing and writing.
The show’s other nominations include outstanding casting, contemporary costumes and contemporary hairstyling.
Last year, the show got four Emmy nominations, including best comedy series, but didn’t win.
“I’m so happy that the Emmanuelles have once again recognized our beautiful work,” O’Hara said, slipping into Moira’s unique transatlantic accent and old-fashioned vocabulary.
“Love this journey for us,” said Murphy, citing Alexis’s catchphrase.
The characters are known for their high fashion, particularly Moira, who had a cherished collection of wigs she called her babies (or, as she pronounced them: “bey-beys”).
O’Hara said she was thrilled to see Emmys love for the hair and makeup team, who ”worked so hard” with her for six years crafting Moira’s look, especially her difficult “hair doughnut” in the series finale.
O’Hara also praised the CBC for supporting the show and the Levys’ vision from the beginning, before it became a cultural phenomenon.
“I say congratulations to them, because they did a beautiful job of making sure that Canadians knew the show existed, and then getting it out there in the world,” O’Hara said.
“I’m just really happy for all the Canadians involved.”
O’Hara’s pal and former “SCTV” castmate Martin Short of Hamilton is also nominated for an Emmy — for best guest actor in a drama series for his creepy role in the Apple TV Plus series “The Morning Show.”
Other Canadian Emmy nominees this year include Ottawa-raised Sandra Oh for lead actress in a drama series for “Killing Eve,” which airs on CTV Drama Channel and streams on Crave in Canada, and BBC America.
This is Oh’s third Emmy nomination for playing an MI5 operative caught up in a mind game with a female assassin, played by Jodie Comer, who is also nominated in the same category.
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” which is hosted by the titular Toronto-born comedian and airs on TBS and CTV Comedy Channel, has nominations including best variety talk series.
Hamilton-born Luke Kirby is up for guest actor in a comedy series for Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Last year he won the Emmy for the same role of comedian Lenny Bruce.
Montreal native Antoni Porowski, who offers cooking advice in the inspirational Netflix lifestyle series “Queer Eye,” is nominated for co-hosting the reality program along with the so-called Fab Five.
Another Canadian contender in that category is entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary along with the other investors in the ABC business-pitch series “Shark Tank.”
Murphy said she planned to celebrate the nominations by finishing the pancakes and bacon she’d laid out for breakfast, while O’Hara planned to take a dip.
“I’ll go jump in the lake. I already have half my bathing suit on,” she said with a laugh. “It is the lower part and I’m wearing a shirt. I am dressed.”
Such could also be the attire for a virtual Emmy Awards, if they’re presented remotely due to the pandemic Sept. 20 on ABC.
“I’ll just continue my thing of getting dressed from the waist-up and nothing will change,” said Murphy. “I look forward to it.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2020.
Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press