TORONTO – The beloved Canadian teen drama “Degrassi” will return next year as a darker hour-long TV series.
US streaming platform HBO Max said it was a fresh take on the Toronto high school saga which is slated to debut in the spring of 2023.
It is described as an “evolution” of the “Degrassi” story that stays true to the original but “promises a journey to fans into exciting new territory, both creatively and dramatically.”
The 10-episode season will shoot in Toronto this summer and was produced in partnership with Canadian production company WildBrain Ltd., which owns the rights to the franchise.
Hosts Lara Azzopardi, known for her work on “Mary Kills People” Global, and Julia Cohen, who worked on the CW teen drama “Riverdale” will helm the series.
Both Azzopardi and Cohen are alumni of the Degrassi universe who co-wrote the 2009 episode of “The Next Generation” entitled “Heat of the Moment,” which deals with bullying.
The event’s creators, Linda Schuyler and Stephen Stohn issued a joint statement saying “the time is right to hand over the baton” to the new leaders.
“We worked with Lara and Julia as writers on Degrassi at an early stage in their careers, so we are extremely proud of how their careers have rebounded over the years that followed,” they wrote.
WildBrain said plans to make “Degrassi” available to Canadian viewers are still being finalized.
“We don’t have news to share at this time, but we look forward to making additional announcements down the road about the availability of the new series in Canada and other regions,” spokesman Shaun Smith said Thursday in an email.
HBO Max’s revamp marks the latest version of the popular series that began in 1979 as “The Kids of Degrassi Street”, a series of CBC after-school specials that morphed into “Degrassi Junior High” and “Degrassi High” in the 1980s.
In 2001, “Degrassi: The Next Generation” sparked a revival for the 14-season franchise, ending its run on MTV.
“Degrassi: Next Class” was the latest revamp in 2016 and aired two seasons on Family Channel in Canada and globally on Netflix.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on January 13, 2022.
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