Over the years, as “Schitt’s Creek” grew in popularity, co-creator and star Dan Levy says he got many offers to write a book about the show. It wasn’t until after the CBC-Pop TV family sitcom wrapped its six-season run that he began working on one, though. The fruits of that labor, authored with his father and “Schitt’s” co-creator and star Eugene Levy, is “Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: The Story of Schitt’s Creek,” to be published on Oct. 26 from Black Dog & Leventhal, and available for pre-order.
“Putting a book together was a daunting idea, specifically because I knew that I couldn’t just hand it over to anybody. The thing about the show is that it’s so personal and I think at this point means so much to me, but also so much to the fans, that we’ve got a bit of a predicament in the sense that we can’t do anything half-assed,” Levy tells Variety with a laugh.
That means the 350-plus-page collector’s item, which is broken into both season-specific and themed sections (such as Building a Town, of which you can see some first-look images below), includes personal essays from cast members and Q&As conducted by Black Dog & Leventhal publishing director Becky Koh; a map of Alexis’ travels; the original, hand-written lyrics to “A Little Bit Alexis”; chronological image collections of David’s sweaters and Moira’s movie posters, costumes and wigs; and many behind-the-scenes set photos.
The process of putting this book together took about a year and a half, Levy recalls, and began with the declaration that the tone had to be celebratory and the concept had to be giving fans “a closer look” at the making of the show.
“One of the things that I really wanted for this book was for people to see elements of what went into the show in a really clean and clear way,” Levy says. “For example, the photo of the receipt that Patrick gives David for his birthday. We put in a very clear, close-up photo of that receipt as a way for fans to get a better look at elements of the show that they maybe only saw in passing.”
Another example is the Café Tropical menu, which was scanned for a spread in the book to feel like a “documented prop,” rather than a reprinted image, Levy explains.
Being so hands-on and thorough with the book’s details gave Levy both a sense of catharsis and a unique opportunity to collaborate once again with his beloved cast and crew, who provided many of the behind-the-scenes photos from their personal collections. But another key element was bringing the fans of “Schitt’s Creek” into this collaboration.
“I knew that I wanted a lot of it to be a celebration of the contribution that the fans have done for us. I’ve seen so much art, specifically, over the years that it felt necessary to integrate their voices alongside ours,” Levy says, adding that it was a way to both give a “gift” to the fans but also give them “ownership.”
“I wanted the takeaway [to be] something fresh,” Levy continues. “It really did feel like if you were going to invest the money in the book that you [should get] something that honored your experience as a viewer, but also involved you in the process and gave something — information — you never knew before.”
In addition to the pieces of fan art throughout the pages of “Best Wishes, Warmest Regards,” Levy also relied on the meticulous documentation of Schitt’s Sheets on Instagram for some of the more data-heavy elements of the book.
“Schitt’s Sheets is somebody who quite literally logged how many times my rings have been configured on my hands or how many hugs we’ve had in the entire show — all kinds of wonderfully strange details. So we called them up and brought them on as a consultant. Because if anyone knew, they would know. And so it was a really great team effort,” Levy says.
“Best Wishes, Warmest Regards” is book-ended by personal pieces from Dan and Eugene Levy, including a final photo of the two men hugging at their Emmy party in 2020. (The show won nine Emmy Awards across Primetime and Creative Arts ceremonies for its final season.) That photo is a rare peek at the Hollywood side of making the show; the rest of the book forgoes images from red carpet events, award shows and industry parties for pulling back the curtain on set.
“I told them from the beginning that the success of the show should be the fact that we have a book, not that we have won some awards. And I think the reason why we put that photo in right at the end is just to bookend my dad and I and our experience because it starts with a personal letter of our intention for the show, and then that’s the only wink and nod that we were going to give to how the show has taken off in ways that none of us had ever expected before,” Levy says.
“There were moments where we acknowledged that the show was having an effect on people, but never wanted to lean too heavily on [it]. It wasn’t a brag. We had stories we wanted to tell and we were going to write them down and we hoped people like that. I think for a bunch of Canadians, anything that involved promoting good things that happened to us is considered a brag.”