The 2020 Primetime Emmys ceremony started with a sweep. The awards were presented by genre, and with comedy up first it was all “Schitt’s Creek” all the tine. The series won Best Comedy Series, Best Comedy Actor (Eugene Levy), Best Comedy Actress (Catherine O’Hara), Best Comedy Supporting Actor (Dan Levy), Best Comedy Supporting Actress (Annie Murphy), Best Comedy Writing (“Happy Ending” by Dan Levy) and Best Comedy Directing (“Happy Ending” by Dan Levy and Andrew Cividino). That’s right, it won everything! Check out the complete list of Emmy winners here.
That sweep was unprecedented. It was the first comedy series ever to win all lead and supporting awards in a single year. That also tied it with “Saturday Night Live” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” for the most comedy acting wins in a single year. And with nine overall victories this year, including its Creative Arts wins for its casting and contemporary costumes, it sets a brand new record as the most honored comedy series in a single year. That record was previously held by “Maisel,” which won eight times in both 2018 and 2019.
And that’s not all. Eugene Levy won two awards tonight (for acting and producing), and Dan Levy won four (for acting, producing, writing and directing), which makes them the first father-son acting duo to win Emmys for the same show.
“Schitt’s Creek” had an unusual Emmy trajectory. Before this historic windfall it was mostly overlooked by the television academy. The Pop TV sitcom earned no nominations in its first four seasons. Then it earned four noms in 2019 for its fifth season, including Best Comedy Series, but it didn’t win any of them. This time, however, it racked up a remarkable 15 bids. It’s likely that many viewers discovered the under-the-radar show after it started streaming on Netflix, similar to how “Breaking Bad” became a ratings juggernaut after its earlier episodes started streaming. “Breaking Bad” also ended up dominating the Emmys in its last years.
It also resembles the sudden ascent of “Fleabag,” which earned zero nominations for its first season and then 11 for its second in 2019, when it won Best Comedy Series. In a media landscape with so many shows and so many ways to watch them, it’s never too late to get your due.