Executive Meddling: The level of influence NBC tried to impose upon the show during its run on the American network is the stuff of legend.
They sent executives up to Edmonton to provide input into the show's development (which the cast and crew often ignored because it was stupid), gave them minimal budgets for each episode, and aired the show at odd hours (11:30 PM??? on a Sunday?). It's a wonder the show survived, and even thrived, despite these setbacks.
When the CBC picked up the show, they demanded a segment of "identifiably Canadian content," despite the fact that the show was already a fully Canadian production. So, they created a sarcastic reply in the form of "The Great White North", with Bob and Doug McKenzie.
In another instance, after the cast spent most of the production budget in "Doorway To Hell" on a several-minute long crane shot, the network cut their budget to almost nothing for another episode, "SCTV Staff Christmas Party". The end result is half an episode mixed with fifteen minutes of John Candy (as washed-up star Johnny LaRue) speaking about his memories of Christmas and lamenting his career on a street corner in the middle of winter. This is also one of Candy's finest acting moments.
A few instances of Executive Meddling in the creation of the NBC Network 90 series worked out OK, such as the idea of "wraparounds," or thematic station-based storylines connecting the various sketches, and the inclusion of musical guests.
Some of the network's contemporaneous ideas weren't so good, though, like a suggestion to move "sex bits" to later in the broadcast, and "drug humor" up front for "youth appeal." This didn't make much sense, though. SCTV was, by and large, a lot more conservative in that regard than the Saturday Night Live crowd. There were relatively few sex references on the show, and practically no "drug humor" whatsoever.
Most of the episodes from the show's first three seasons (which were filmed in Canada) and the sixth season (which aired on U.S. pay station Cinemax) are unavailable on DVD, possibly due to rights or music issues.
Likewise, the television special The Best of SCTV (which aired on ABC, and acted as an epilogue to the series) hasn't been seen since its initial television airing. It can be found through torrents, though.
Stunt Casting: Several musicians also acted in skits, including Natalie Cole, Tony Bennett, Hall & Oates, and The Boomtown Rats. Several actors also appeared, including Sir John Gieguld, Al Jarreau (who starred in a parody of The Jazz Singer) and John Marley (Jack Woltz from The Godfather, playing the exact same character as the one from the film).
The Pete Best: Harold Ramis was a cast member for the first season along with serving as head writer, but decided to focus on writing for the next season, before leaving the show entirely.
Robin Duke and Tony Rosato joined the cast for season three, but were hired by Saturday Night Live and left before SCTV made the move to NBC.
Troubled Production: Season 3. After the second season their Canadian network, Global TV, dropped it because it was too expensive to produce. But syndicated reruns were getting good ratings in the US, so Second City didn't want to throw the towel in on the show just yet. They finally worked out a deal with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, via one of their local affiliates. The catch was that the show would have be taped at the affiliate's studios in Edmonton, Alberta, which is over 2,000 miles (3,000 km) from their home base of Toronto. Catherine O'Hara and John Candy elected not to participate (Candy left to headline his own short-lived sketch show Big City Comedy). Then they had to break-in three new cast members: Robin Duke, Rick Moranis and Tony Rosato. And the CBC insisted that each episode feature two minutes of "identifiable Canadian" material. The situation was frustrating enough that Joe Flaherty abruptly left midway through the season (but he eventually returned). However, it all ended up working out: being away from home allowed the cast and writers to focus on their work, the newcomers (especially Moranis) rose to the occasion, and the Edmonton TV facility had much better production values than they'd worked with at Global. And the Canadian content mandate led to the creation of the show's most popular characters, Bob and Doug McKenzie. By the end of the year SCTV was getting better ratings than the infamous 6th season of Saturday Night Live, and NBC was impressed enough to pick up the show.