HBO Max is bringing back Degrassi.
WarnerMedia announced that not only did it pick up the Degrassi library for the streaming platform but that a new series has been greenlit. The back-catalog includes all 14 seasons of Degrassi: The Next Generation (retitled Degrassi in Season 10), and the revival -- expected to launch in 2023 -- will consist of 10 hour-long episodes.
"Series after series, the Degrassi franchise continues to make an indelible impact on young viewers looking for trustworthy and authentic storytelling," Warner Bros. Head of Kids & Family Programming Amy Friedman said. "WildBrain continues to artfully capture high school life in a compelling format that can be experienced seamlessly on HBO Max."
"I’m delighted that our first-ever commission from HBO Max is for Degrassi, a truly venerable franchise with a highly devoted and passionate audience," WildBrain CEO Eric Ellenbogen added. "This is yet another evergreen property from our vast IP library that we are reviving with a fresh vision and creative-first approach."
Degrassi is a Canadian teen drama franchise that launched in 1979 with The Kids of Degrassi Street, which was followed by Degrassi Junior High in 1987 and Degrassi High in 1989. However, the property gained significant popularity in its fourth series, Degrassi: The Next Generation, which centered on many of the children of the characters from the original shows (it was followed by Next Class, which many consider to be an unofficial Season 15).
The Next Generation was notable for tackling tough real-world issues such as bullying, sex, drugs, teen pregnancy, abortion and even school shootings. A particularly memorable two-part episode saw one of the show's lead characters, Jimmy Brooks (played by Aubrey Graham, better known as rap star Drake), shot in the back, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
"There was a letter from a law firm in Toronto, and it was from Aubrey," writer James Hurst recently recalled while reflecting on Degrassi. "It was an odd letter that said, 'Aubrey Graham will not return to Degrassi season six as Jimmy Brooks unless his injury is healed, and he's out of the wheelchair.' He came in and was like, 'What letter? I don't know about that.' And I said, 'All right, I understand. But how do you feel about the wheelchair?' He's like, 'All my friends in the rap game say I'm soft because I'm in a wheelchair.' And I said, 'Well, tell your friends in the rap game that you got shot. How much harder can you get? You got shot, and you're in a wheelchair.'"
The next Degrassi series is being helmed by Lara Azzopardi and Julia Cohen, with filming expected to begin this summer.
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