September 27, 2023


Arts Eternal

New one-hour Degrassi series to premiere spring 2023 on HBO Max

Beloved Canadian teen drama Degrassi will be back in session next year as a darker hour-long TV series.

U.S. streaming platform HBO Max says it’s greenlit a fresh take on the Toronto-set high school saga that’s slated to debut in spring 2023.

It’s described as an “evolution” of the Degrassi story that stays true to the original but “promises fans a journey into exciting new territory, both creatively and dramatically.”

The 10-episode season will shoot in Toronto this summer and be produced in partnership with Canadian production company WildBrain Ltd., who own the rights to the franchise.

Showrunners Lara Azzopardi, known for work on Global’s Mary Kills People, and Julia Cohen, who worked on CW teen drama Riverdale will lead the series.

The cast and producers of Degrassi, from left, Raymond Ablack, Charlotte Arnold, (Co-Producers) Stephen Stohn and Linda Schuyler, Lauren Collins, Stefan Brogren, and Adamo Ruggiero pose for a photo after being voted Canada’s Top Show of the Last 25 Years during the 25th Annual Gemini Awards in Toronto on Nov. 13, 2010. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press)

Both Azzopardi and Cohen are alumnae of the Degrassi universe having worked together as writers on a 2009 episode of The Next Generation titled Heat of the Moment, which dealt with bullying.

The show’s longtime creators Linda Schuyler and Stephen Stohn issued a joint statement saying “the time is perfect to pass the baton” to new leaders.

“We worked with Lara and Julia as writers on Degrassi in the early stages of their careers, so we are particularly proud of how their careers have soared over ensuing years,” they wrote.

WildBrain says plans to make Degrassi available to Canadian viewers are still being ironed out.

“We don’t have news to share at this time, but we look forward to making additional announcements down the road about availability of the new series in Canada and other territories,” spokesperson Shaun Smith said Thursday in an email.

The cast of Degrassi Junior High appear in this photo. Front row from left, Michael Blake, Angela Deiseach, Irene Courakos, Stefan Brogren. Back row from left, Amanda Cook, Maureen Deiseach, Bill Parrott, Cathy Keenan, Dayo Ade (CBC Still Photo Collection)

Degrassi renaissance

HBO Max’s revamp marks the latest version of the popular series which began in 1979 as The Kids of Degrassi Street, a run of CBC after-school specials that spun off into Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High in the 1980s.

In 2001, Degrassi: The Next Generation sparked a renaissance for the franchise that lasted for 14 seasons, 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.