The popular Canadian teen drama franchise Degrassi is getting a revival series.
WarnerMedia Kids & Family has greenlit Degrassi, a reboot of the franchise consisting of 10 hour-long episodes, and is set to premiere on HBO Max in 2023. From executive producers and co-showrunners Lara Azzopardi (The Bold Type, Mary Kills People) and Julia Cohen (Riverdale, A Million Little Things), Degrassi is scheduled to start filming in Toronto this summer. WildBrain, which owns the Degrassi franchise, is producing the revival series.
“Series after series, the Degrassi franchise continues to make an indelible impact on young viewers looking for trustworthy and authentic storytelling,” said Amy Friedman, head of kids and family programming at Warner Bros, in a statement. “WildBrain continues to artfully capture high school life in a compelling format that can be experienced seamlessly on HBO Max.”
WildBrain CEO Eric Ellenbogen commented: “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. This is yet another evergreen property from our vast IP library that we are reviving with a fresh vision and creative-first approach.”
While plot details and casting information are not readily available, Degrassi, like its predecessors, will follow a group of teenagers and school faculty living in the shadow of events that both bind them together and tear them apart. The new show will travel deep into the hearts and homes of diverse, complicated characters, as they struggle to find their new normal, reaching for hope, redemption and love.
“What excites us maybe the most about reviving this beloved franchise is turning it into a truly serialized one-hour drama,” said Azzopardi and Cohen in a joint statement. “We’re honored to be given the opportunity to lead this evolution and bring this iconic series back into people’s homes.”
Created by Kit Hood and Linda Schuyler back in 1979, the Degrassi franchise started as a series of short films about a set of kids living on or near the eponymous De Grassi Street in Toronto, Ontario. It later focused on a group of ethnically and economically diverse teenagers attending schools of the same name as they face various issues prevalent in teenage life.
The franchise has released five main series to date. The first one is The Kids of Degrassi Street, which originally aired on CBC Television in Canada from 1979 to 1986 and was later broadcast on Disney Channel in the U.S. The inaugural Degrassi series was followed by Degrassi Junior High (1987-1989) and Degrassi High (1989-1991), which both aired on PBS in the U.S.
Fast forward to 2001, Degrassi: The Next Generation premiered. The show ran for 14 seasons through 2015, becoming the longest-running and arguably the most popular series in the franchise. Some of the most notable Degrassi: Next Generation alumni are rapper Drake, who starred in the first seven seasons of the show, and Nina Dobrev, who appeared in seasons six through nine.
In 2016, Degrassi: Next Class arrived on Netflix and ran for four seasons. In 2019, show producer and frequent director Stefan Brogren confirmed that the streaming service had canceled the series.