DHX Media has announced that Degrassi has found a new home on Family Channel in Canada and Netflix in the U.S., where it will premiere a new season in January 2016.
Last week it was announced that the popular teen series would be ending its run on MTV Canada and TeenNick next month. The series original began as a series of specials on the CBC called The Kids of Degrassi Street from 1982 to 1986 and later Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High from 1987 until 1991. The series was brought back (under “The Next Generation”) by CTV in 2001 and later ended up on both Much and MTV Canada.
“Following an unprecedented and incredibly supportive 14-year relationship with Bell Media on Degrassi: The Next Generation, we are looking forward to reaching a fresh new audience with Degrassi: Next Class,” said the show’s executive producer Linda Schuyler. Degrassi will not target “Generation Z.” Those kids born after the millenials.
Now called Degrassi: Next Class, it will continue filming in Toronto with returning cast members Amanda Arcuri (Lola), Reiya Downs (Shay), Ana Golja (Zoe), Nikki Gould (Grace), Ricardo Hoyos (Zig), Ehren Kassam (Jonah), Andre Kim (Winston), Lyle Lettau (Tristan), Spencer Macpherson (Hunter), Eric Osborne (Miles), Olivia Scriven (Maya), Sara Waisglass (Frankie) and Richard Walters (Deon), along with some new cast members. Will Stefan Brogren return as Snake? Sorry, Principal Archie Simpson… I guess we’ll have to find out in the new year (probably, as Brogren is also a series producer/director).
The new season will feature 20 half-hour episodes and they’ll hit Netflix in Canada once they wrap up their run on Family Channel. DHX Media, which owns Family Channel, acquired Epitome Pictures (which produces Degrassi) last year.
So was Degrassi really cancelled in the first place? I doubt it… I feel like the producers had been contemplating this move for some time now as the younger audiences are consuming more shows digitally. Why sell rights to a broadcaster that re-airs the show online when you can strike a deal with a streaming service and also place the show on conventional television within the same family, right? Stephen Stohn, president and executive producer of Epitome Pictures told The Globe and Mail that Degrassi: Next Class is a “reinvention, not a resurrection. We considered the reality of what is happening in the TV world and in Canada in particulars with the CRTC announcements and we know young people are going more online . That was when the discussion happened about the shift in broadcasters.”