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May 5, 2008

Wikipedia: Degrassi: The Next Generation

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Degrassi: The Next Generation

Degrassi: The Next Generation logo
Genre Teen drama, Soap opera
Created by Yan Moore,
Linda Schuyler
Theme music composer Jody Colero
Jim McGrath
Stephen Stohn
David Ogilvie
Openingtheme Whatever It Takes
Countryoforigin Canada
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No.ofepisodes 126 (Listofepisodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Linda Schuyler,
Stephen Stohn
Brendon Yorke
Location(s) Toronto, ON, Canada
Runningtime 22 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel CTV
Original run October 14, 2001 – Present
Chronology
Precededby Degrassi High
External links
Official website
IMDb profile
TV.com summary

Degrassi: The Next Generation (also known as D:TNG, DTNG or simply Degrassi) is a Canadian teen drama television series created by Linda Schuyler and Yan Moore that premiered on CTV in Canada on October 21, 2001. The series is set in the fictional Degrassi universe created by Schuyler and Kit Hood in 1980. It is the fifth incarnation of Degrassi, which began with The Kids of Degrassi Street, and like its predecessors, depicts a group of students facing the typical issues and challenges of teen life.

D:TNG is produced by Epitome Pictures in association with CTVglobemedia and distributed by Alliance Atlantis. The series airs on CTV, although seasons six and seven have premiered in America on the cable channel The N. The current executive producers are Epitome Pictures founders Schuyler and husband Stephen Stohn, and Brendon Yorke. The executive creative consultant is James Hurst. Jody Colero is the music supervisor and selects all the music for the show, while the music score is composed by Jim McGrath. Filming takes place at Epitome’s studios in Toronto, ON, Canada.

A critical and popular success, D:TNG is the most watched domestic drama series in Canada,[1] and the highest rated show on The N in the United States.[2] In 2004, one episode received over half a million viewers in the United States,[3] and just under a million viewers in Canada.[1] Reviews for the show are consistently positive. Entertainment Weekly calls it “a cult hit”;[4] The New York Times, “Tha Best Teen TV N da WRLD (The best teen TV in the world)”.[5] Teen magazines Vervegirl and Teen have also printed articles about the show and its stars. The show has won numerous awards including nine Gemini Awards, two Teen Choice Awards and five Directors Guild of Canada Awards, as well as nominations for nine other Gemini Awards, three more Director’s Guild of Canada Awards and recognition from GLAAD.[6] D:TNG’s success has also led to a number of tie-in miniseries and webseries, an encyclopædic guide and a series of graphic novels.

On February 23, 2007, it was announced that a seventh season consisting twenty-four episodes had been ordered,[7] a number higher than any previous season. The seventh season kicked off on October 5, 2007, and 126 total episodes have aired as of November 16, 2007.

Contents

Production

Concept

The Degrassi universe was created in 1980 by Linda Schuyler, a former school teacher, and her partner Kit Hood under their production company Playing With Time. The franchise began with The Kids of Degrassi Street, which was spawned out of three half-hour short films.[8] Degrassi Junior High followed in 1987, Degrassi High came in 1989, and the television movie School’s Out premiered in 1992.

The character Emma Nelson, born during Degrassi Junior High, inspired the creation of Degrassi: The Next Generation.

In 1999, Schuyler and original Degrassi series head writer Yan Moore were developing a brand new teen drama, when Moore remembered the character Emma Nelson who was born at the end of Degrassi Junior High’s second season. Realizing that Emma would be twelve years old and about to enter junior high school herself, the development of the new series took a new direction.[9] Inspired by the original Star Trek science-fiction television series (which had by that time spun off Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager), Schuyler’s husband and co-founder of Epitome Pictures, Stephen Stohn, jokingly suggested “Degrassi: The Next Generation” as the name for the new sequel series. Originally a working title, the name stuck.

Hoping to provide a complete viewing experience for the audience, the producers decided to create a website with a “virtual school” that fans could “enroll” in, ensuring a steady stream of e-mails from their classmate characters and buzz about ongoing subplots. In February 2001, it was revealed in The Record that the producers of the show had threatened the owner of a Degrassi fansite with a lawsuit to hand over the ownership of three domains.[10] After a number of media outlets reported the threat, the producers settled on http://www.degrassi.tv.

The two-part pilot episode, “Mother and Child Reunion” brought back many Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High actors for a ten year high-school reunion, and also introduced four new students to Degrassi Community School. The episode originally aired October 21, 2001.

Executive producers, script-writers and directors

Produced by Epitome Pictures Inc, in association with CTVglobemedia, D:TNG receives funding from The Canadian Television Fund and BCE-CTV Benefits,[11] the Shaw Rocket Fund,[12] Mountain Cable Program and RBC Royal Bank, the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund,[13] and the Cogeco Program Development Fund.

The current executive producers are Linda Schuyler (who was the co-producer of Jimmy Playing with Time (1979), X-Rated (1993) and co-executive producer of the Degrassi franchise (1983-1992), Riverdale (1997) and Instant Star (2006))[14] Stephen Stohn (who served as the executive producer of the 25th, 27th, 29th, 31st and 35th Juno Awards),[15] and Brendon Yorke (previously a script-writer, story editor and executive story editor on the show).[16] James Hurst, now the executive creative consultant and Aaron Martin have also served as executive producers.[17]

Script-writing for each new season begins six months before filming starts, and even before the season is ordered. The writers with the most credits are: Aaron Martin (49 episodes), James Hurst (42 episodes), Shelley Scarrow (23 episodes), Yan Moore (22 episodes), Brendon Yorke (16 episodes), Tassie Cameron and Sean Reycraft (10 episodes each). Shelley Scarrow, James Hurst, Aaron Martin and Sean Reycraft have also served as story editors. The director of the two-part pilot episode, Phil Earnshaw, has gone on to direct sixteen more episodes, Stefan Scaini has directed 13 episodes and Bruce McDonald has directed 9 episodes.[17]

Episode format

Each episode of D:TNG is written following a specific formula. There are two, sometimes three storylines, Plot A, Plot B, and Plot C. The A storyline opens and closes the episode, is usually driven by one character and is the most focal. The B Plot is usually more comedic in tone and sometimes slightly intertwined with the other stories, often moving story arcs forward. The C Plot, when used, is usually a thread in a season-long arc.[18] The problems and issues presented in the episode are not always resolved by the end of the episode, and are carried over to the next, or create a mini-arc. One rule always enforced is that no adult (except those who were students during DJH or DH) can appear in a scene without a Degrassi student present.[18]

Mostly all episode titles are taken from 1980s songs, such as “Karma Chameleon”, “Eye of the Tiger” and “When Doves Cry”. However, a few episodes take their titles from other music-related media; “Weddings, Parties, Anything” is titled after the 80s Australian folk rock band, “Jagged Little Pill” takes its name from the Alanis Morissette album, “Wannabe” is titled after the 1996 Spice Girls song, and the season six two-parter “What’s It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?” is titled after a Taking Back Sunday song, as the alternative rock group guested in the episode and a Degrassi Mini, “Adam Lazzara Married My Mom”.

Opening sequence

The series’ evolved intertitles (from top to bottom): seasons 1-2; seasons 3-5; season 6; season 7

The D:TNG opening sequence provides credits for the actors with star billing early in each episode following a two to three minute cold open. For the first five seasons the credits showed the actors in character on the school premises and followed a mini storyline. From season six onwards, the titles have the actors possibly breaking the fourth wall and directly focusing on the camera, while three or four small videos of them in character, saturated in a blue hue play in the background.

The theme music, “Whatever it Takes”, was written by Jody Colero, Jim McGrath and Stephen Stohn. For the first three seasons the uplifting lyrics, which include the line, “whatever it takes, I know I can make it through”, were performed by a children’s choir over an 80s pop-sounding tune, giving it a sense of optimism and joy. For season four the theme was reworked by Dave Ogilvie and Anthony Valcic of Canadian industrial/pop group Jakalope, who performed the song, giving it a heavier and more mature sound, reflecting the growing maturity of the characters.[19] The theme tune experienced its third incarnation after being remixed and stripped of vocals for season six. In season 7, still lyric-less, it was remixed once again to give it a more edgy, darker style to reflect that happenings of the season, including drug abuse, break ups and date rape.

Music

Degrassi: The Next Generation features a mix of original, emo, indie and pop music. Jim McGrath, the show’s composer, wrote the music used in the theme tune, and a version of that is used to score the episodes. He also works with actors Jake Epstein and Melissa McIntyre when writing music for their characters Craig Manning and Ashley Kerwin to perform in their bands Downtown Sasquatch, Paige Michalchuk and the Sexkittens and Hell Hath No Fury.[20] Popular culture songs have been used sparingly in the series, mainly because of budget constraints. Instead, music supervisor Jody Colero selects songs from little-known Canadian artists.[19] When such music is featured, it is usually generated by an action of one of the characters. Examples of this are the songs played at Ashley’s party in the first season episode “Jagged Little Pill” and at the wedding reception in “Weddings, Parties, Anything”.

Filming locations

While the Degrassi universe is based on the real De Grassi Street in Toronto, ON, Canada, D:TNG is not filmed on the street, even though the four previous incarnations were.[21] Degrassi: The Next Generation is instead filmed at Epitome Pictures’ studios in Toronto. The building is a 100,000-square-foot former printing factory, converted in 1997 for Epitome. The studios consist of four soundstages and a backlot.[22]

In DJH, the producers used Vincent Massey Public School, then known as Daisy Avenue Public School, to depict the school, and Centennial College for DH, but for D:TNG, the producers decided not to film in a real school, and shoot in studios instead. The exterior of Degrassi Community School is located on the studio’s backlot, and uses the same colors and glass pattern as Centennial College during DH. The school exterior also features a hoarding area, where the students hang out and a bus stop across the road.[23] The backlot is also used for the exterior shots of Spinner’s and Liberty’s houses (which is actually one unit dressed differently),[23] Emma Nelson’s house and The Dot Grill. The building for The Dot is the only one on the backlot big enough to allow filming inside; the school and house interiors are located on the soundstages.[22]

Stage A currently holds the sets for the university house, an interior house set used in Instant Star,[22] and the school’s hallways, washrooms, cafeteria and classroom. The hallways are stencilled with inspirational sayings, such as “the perfect human being is all human”, which was found at the Etobicoke School for the Arts, one of the schools used for research. The washroom set has graffiti on the walls to look authentic, and is used for the girls’ and boys’ room; the urinals can be installed and removed as needed. The set used for the cafeteria is purposefully bland to take the edge off the rest of the school looking beautiful and high class. The set is also used to feed the cast and crew.[24]

Stage C holds the sets for the school’s entrance foyer, the gymnasium,[22] the media lab and the hallway with the lockers. As the series progressed and the budget increased, a stairway and balcony were installed in the foyer in an attempt to get characters off the floor, and not all in the same plane. For the first few seasons, the gym floor was wooden floorboard; due to warping, it has been replaced by concrete painted to look like wooden floorboard.[25]

Stage B holds the sets for the Nelsons’ house and the Core newspaper office, and Stage D holds the sets for the new break room and Campus Club.[22]

Casting and characters

Main and recurring roles

See also: List of minor Degrassi: The Next Generation characters

The opening season of the show featured thirteen actors in regular roles. Staying true to the previous series, the producers cast child actors into the show, hoping to provide a group of characters the target audience of teenagers could relate to, rather than actors in their twenties pretending to be teenagers, something Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson’s Creek were doing at the time. Over six hundred Canadian children auditioned for roles as Degrassi students. Miriam McDonald won the role of Emma Nelson; Lauren Collins was cast as Paige Michalchuk; Cassie Steele was cast as Manny Santos, Shane Kippel as Spinner Mason, Ryan Cooley as J. T. Yorke, Aubrey Graham as Jimmy Brooks, Jake Goldsbie as Toby Isaacs, Sarah Barrable-Tishauer as Liberty Van Zandt, Melissa McIntyre as Ashley Kerwin, Daniel Clark as Sean Cameron, and Christina Schmidt as Terri McGreggor.

Providing a link back to the earlier Degrassi series, Dan Woods, who originally played English teacher Dan Raditch, took a starring role as the school principal. Archie Simpson, portrayed by Stefan Brogren, became school’s Media Immersion teacher. Amanda Stepto reprised her character Spike Nelson, Emma Nelson’s mother,[26] in a recurring role.

In season two, Pat Mastroianni returned to the Degrassi universe as Joey Jeremiah, receiving star billing, with Jake Epstein also joining the main cast as Craig Manning, Joey’s stepson. Stacie Mistysyn reprised her former Degrassi character Caitlin Ryan in a recurring role. Newcomers Stacey Farber, Adamo Ruggiero and Melissa Di Marco were given recurring roles as students Ellie Nash, Marco Del Rossi, and science teacher Daphne Hatzilakos, respectively.

In season three, Farber, Ruggiero and Mistysyn were given regular roles, as was Andrea Lewis (Hazel Aden) and Amanda Stepto, who had held recurring roles since the first season. Mike Lobel (Jay Hogart), Deanna Casaluce (Alex Nuñez), Ephraim Ellis (Rick Murray), and John Bregar (Dylan Michalchuk) were introduced in recurring roles as new students. Towards the end of the season, Christina Schmidt’s character Terri McGreggor was written out of the show when her possessive boyfriend Rick pushed her to the ground and smashed her head onto a rock, causing a coma. Christina wanted to leave the show to pursue a career in plus-size modeling; coincidentally, her character had embarked on this career in the previous season.

No main cast additions were made in season four, although Dalmar Abuzeid, Shenae Grimes and Christopher Jacot were given recurring roles as Danny Van Zandt, Darcy Edwards and student teacher Matt Oleander. Ephraim Ellis left the show when his character accidentally shot himself while fighting Sean Cameron during a shooting rampage. Daniel Clark, who wanted to leave at the end of season three, was persuaded to stay on until the school shooting storyline. His character was written out when he moved to live with his parents following his guilt over accidentally killing Rick. Dan Woods also left when Principal Raditch was fired because of the shooting. Melissa McIntyre left at the end of the season to go to university; her character was sent to England.

In season five, Mike Lobel, Deanna Casaluce and Melissa Di Marco were given star billing, as was Jamie Johnston, introduced as Melissa’s character’s son, Peter Stone. Marc Donato was given a recurring role as Derek Haig. Stacie Mistysyn, Pat Mastroianni, Jake Epstein, and Andrea Lewis left the show, and in the final episode Melissa McIntyre returned to guest as Ashley Kerwin.

In season six, Daniel Clark rejoined the main cast as Sean Cameron, and was written out once again at the end of the season when Sean joined the military. Shenae Grimes was given star billing, and Jake Epstein returned to guest as Craig Manning for a two-part episode. Melissa McIntyre took a recurring role as Ashley so she could continue with her university studies, while Jake Goldsbie (as Toby Isaacs) was removed from star billing and given a recurring role. Nina Dobrev and Steve Belford were introduced in recurring roles as Mia Jones and Jesse Stefanovic respectively. Ryan Cooley left mid-season when his character J. T. Yorke was stabbed and killed, as he wanted to leave to attend university.

In season seven, Charlotte Arnold, Mazin Elsadig, Paula Brancati, Raymond Ablac, Samantha Munro, and Scott Patterson were cast as transferred Lakehurst High School students Holly J. Sinclair, Damien Hayes, Sav Bhandari, Anya McPherson, and Johnny DiMarco respectively. Nina Dobrev was given star billing, while Deanna Casaluce left the regular cast and appeared in only the first few episodes before she left to pursue a career in Los Angeles.

Throughout the show, many other actors have had recurring roles as Degrassi kids’ family members. Notable actors include: Alex Steele, the younger sister of Cassie Steele; Maria Ricossa (Street Legal, 1987-1990; 1-800-Missing, 2006), Kristen Holden-Ried (K-19: The Widowmaker, 2002; The Tudors, 2002); Tony Sciara (Soul Food, 2001-2); and Conrad Coates (These Arms of Mine, 2000-1; La Femme Nikita, 2001; The Dresden Files, 2007; Kyle XY, 2007).

Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High guest roles

As well as Dan Woods, Stefan Brogren, Stacie Mistysyn, Amanda Stepto, and Pat Mastroianni having starring roles, a number of other actors from DJH and DH have reprised their roles throughout the new series’ run, to guest star in some episodes.

For the pilot episode, former Degrassi actors Danah Jean Brown (Trish Skye), Darrin Brown (Dwayne Myers), Michael Carry (Simon Dexter), Irene Courakos (Alexa Pappadopoulos), Chrissa Erodotou (Diana Economopoulos), Anais Granofsky (Lucy Fernandez), Rebecca Haines (Kathleen Mead), Sarah Holmes (Alison Hunter), Neil Hope (Derek “Wheels” Wheeler), Kyra Levy (Maya Goldberg), Cathy Keenan (Liz O’Rourke), Pat Mastroianni (Joey Jeremiah), Stacie Mistysyn (Caitlin Ryan), and Siluck Saysanasy (Yick Yu) reprised their roles for a school reunion.[27] In the second season, Anais Granofsky guested again in the “White Wedding” double episode when her character attended Spike and Snake’s wedding.[28] In the fifth season, Cathy Keenan and Neil Hope guested a second time when their characters returned to console Spike and Snake after their separation.[29]

Jason Mewes, Alanis Morissette, and Kevin Smith

Movie director Kevin Smith became a huge fan of the Degrassi series when he worked at a convenience store in Leonardo, NJ since the early 90s.[30] Actor Jason Mewes was his co-worker at the time and also became a fan. Every Sunday morning at work, Smith and Mewes watched episodes of Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High on PBS.[31] Smith has paid homage to Degrassi by making reference to it in several of his films. An example of this is when he named Caitlin Bree from the movie Clerks after his favorite Degrassi character, Caitlin Ryan.[31] He also had Shannen Doherty‘s character Rene wear a Degrassi jacket throughout his Mallrats film and had Jason Lee‘s character in Chasing Amy specifically mention Degrassi Junior High as a TV show he would want to be watching rather than going out.

Smith was originally slated to play the part of Caitlin’s fiance in the pilot episode,[32] but due to filming commitments the role was recast with Canadian director Don McKellar.[33] Instead, Smith and Mewes guest star as themselves (although Kevin is portrayed as being unmarried and childless) in the final three episodes of the fourth season to work on Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh!, a fictional feature film in the View Askewniverse series that was using Degrassi Community School as a filming location.[34] Singer/actress Alanis Morissette, who had previously played God in two other Jay and Silent Bob movies,[35] also guest starred in “Going Down The Road, Part 1” as herself, playing the school principal in the Jay and Silent Bob movie.

Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes returned to D:TNG as themselves for two episodes in season five, for the premiere of Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh!. Alanis Morissette also appeared in character as the school principal when scenes from the season four episode “Going Down the Road, Part 1” were shown during the screening of the movie.[36]

Broadcast and distribution

First run broadcast

See also: List of Degrassi: The Next Generation episodes

While the earlier Degrassi series aired in Canada on CBC, Degrassi: The Next Generation airs on CTV. In America, where the earlier Degrassi series aired on PBS, Degrassi: The Next Generation airs on digital cable network The N. Nickelodeon used to air D:TNG in their TEENick block.

Degrassi: The Next Generation also airs in over 70 countries across the globe including Australia where the first three seasons have aired as part of Australian Broadcasting Corporation‘s “ABC Kids” lineup on ABC-TV. Repeat episodes have also screened on Nickelodeon Australia and ABC2. MTV Latin America in Mexico, Peru and Chile, Multishow in Brazil, ZigZap in Poland, and Ketnet in Flanders all air the show.

Season one originally aired in Canada from October 14, 2001 to March 3, 2002.[37] Fifteen half-hour episodes were produced, although the season opener, “Mother and Child Reunion”, aired as a special hour long episode. In the United States, episode three (“Family Politics”) was the first episode to be shown (April 1, 2002); “Mother and Child Reunion, Parts 1 and 2” aired after the rest of the season had aired.[37] “Jagged Little Pill”, the fifteenth and final episode of the season, was also held back because The N had yet to decide whether its subject about ecstacy abuse was too controversial.[38][39] In reruns, the season has aired in the correct order, although episode eleven, “Friday Night”, has occasionally aired before episode ten, “Rumours and Reputations”.

Season two aired from September 29, 2002 to February 23, 2003 in Canada. Twenty-two half-hour episodes were produced although the season opener aired as an hour long two-parter, as did “White Wedding”. Episode fourteen (“Careless Whisper”) originally aired two days before episodes twelve and thirteen, the two-parter “White Wedding”, and episode eighteen (“Dressed In Black”) aired before episode seventeen (“Relax”).[39] In reruns, however, the episodes have aired in the correct order. In the U.S., The N aired season two in two blocks. The first block aired October 7, 2002 to January 13, 2003. The second block of episodes aired July 11, 2003 to August 29, 2003, but the episodes did not air in the order intended by the producers. The season finale of season one, “Jagged Little Pill” had originally been held over.[38] It was finally shown as this season’s fourth episode, along with season two’s true fourth episode to form a two-parter. Due to the sensitive subject of teen date rape, episodes seven and eight the “Shout” hour long special, were held over until July 11, 2003,[40] and opened the second half of the season, creating an hour-and-a-half long special with episode twenty, “How Soon Is Now?”. Episode nine (“Mirror in the Bathroom”) also had its first airing in the second block of the season, before episodes 15 to 19 aired in the order intended, followed by episodes 21 and 22 (“Tears Are Not Enough, Parts 1 and 2”) as an hour long season finale.[39] In reruns, however, the episodes have all aired in the order the producers intended.

Season three began airing in Canada on September 17, 2003 and finished on April 5, 2004. Twenty-two episodes were produced for season three, although CTV aired the two parters “Father Figure” and “Holiday” as hour long specials.[41] In the U.S., The N once again split the season into two halves. The first half aired between October 3, 2003 and December 19, 2003, and the second half of the season from June 4, 2004 to August 6, 2004. The episodes “Father Figure”, “Pride”, and “Holiday” aired as hour long specials.[41] When it came to showing “Accidents Will Happen, Parts 1 and 2”, The N refused to air the episodes,[40][38] as the episode was deemed “too honest” because it dealt with the controversial topic of a character aged only fifteen having an abortion[42] and having no regrets.[43] The refusal caused an uproar amongst American fans, over 6000 of whom signed a petition to have The N air the episode.[44] When the episode was finally broadcast three years after its original Canadian broadcast, it was during an “Every Degrassi Episode Ever” Marathon.[45][41]

Season four first aired in Canada over a period of five months from September 7, 2004 until February 14, 2005. Twenty-two episodes were produced, though as with the previous seasons, the two-part opener aired as one hour long episode. Episodes three and four, five and six, and nineteen and twenty also aired as hour long episodes.[46] In America, The N again aired the season in two blocks, the first beginning October 1, 2004 and ending March 11, 2005. The second block, advertised as the “Summer ’04” season,[47] ran from July 1, 2005 with the season finale airing nine months after the first episode on August 26, 2005. Episodes one and two, and fourteen and fifteen aired as two one-hour episodes.[46]

Season five premiered September 19, 2005 and the finale aired March 20, 2006. The N aired the first ten episodes from October 7, 2005 to December 16, 2005, and the second block, billed as the “Summer ’05” season,[48] beginning April 7, 2006 until June 9, 2006. Nineteen episodes were produced for season five, making it shorter than the previous three seasons; The N reduced that number by two as it aired the two-parters “Venus” and “The Lexicon of Love” as hour long episodes.[49]

In a change to previous seasons, the sixth season premiered on The N in the United States, rather than Canada’s CTV. The first two episodes aired September 29, 2006, whereas CTV aired them two months later on November 28, 2006. By airing two episodes each week, CTV caught up to The N by the eighth episode, and continued to air two episodes on one night until episode twelve. The show took a short break from CTV’s schedules following “The Bitterest Pill” on January 9, 2007, returning a month later for one episode, then taking another six week break, returning March 28, 2007. Episode nineteen aired May 14, 2007. The N followed this scheduling pattern when episode twelve aired April 9, 2007, two months after the previous episode. The season returned to the schedules with episode thirteen on June 29, ending August 3, 2007.[50]

Season seven premiered October 5, 2007 on The N and will conclude after twenty-four episodes in 2008.[7] Stephen Stohn released titles for the first fourteen episodes on July 25, 2007, on the Official Degrassi website’s messageboards.[51] He announced titles for four more episodes on September 14, 2007,[52] followed by another four on October 21, 2007.[53] He announced on his MySpace page and the Degrassi Message Boards that an additional Halloween special episode, though not part of season seven has also been produced.[54] This episode aired on The N October 26, 2007,[55] and on CTV October 31, 2007.[56]

Season 7 will debut on CTV January 10, 2008, with “Standing in The Dark Parts 1 ‘ 2” and January 14, 2008, with “It’s Tricky”.

Syndicated repeats in the United States

On September 24, 2006 Program Partners, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Television, announced that they have acquired the syndication rights to 119 episodes of the show in the United States.[57] In December 2006, Program Partners had reached agreements with the Tribune Company for every station it owned, as well as some stations owned by Belo, Clear Channel Communications, Granite Broadcasting Corporation, Gray Television, Hubbard Broadcasting Corporation, Pegasus Communications, and The CW Plus affiliated stations, clearing D:TNG in 60% of the country, including all 5 of the Top 5 markets, with 8 of the Top 10 markets, 15 of the Top 20 and 18 of the Top 25 markets.[58] By March 2007, they had cleared it in over 70% of the country after stations owned by Hearst-Argyle Television, Capitol Broadcasting Company, and ACME Communications signed on.[59]

While the syndicator preferred that the show be scheduled in the late-afternoon hours (5 p.m. to 7 p.m.), the show meets the criteria to be listed as E/I programming, and many networks use it to partially fulfill their E/I requirements (three hours per week). Most E/I programming generally airs between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday, but legally they can air any time between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time, and some stations show E/I programming during hours when very few children would watch, such as after 10 a.m. on weekdays, when they are in school.

Stations owned by the same parent company do not even air the show at the same time. Tribune Company stations WPHL-TV, the Philadelphia, PA affiliate of MyNetworkTV, uses a three hour block from 7:00 a.m – 9:30 a.m., Saturdays to fulfill E/I requirements, replacing the DiC Kids Network block.[60] WPIX, the New York City affiliate of The CW, runs back-to-back episodes on Sundays 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.[61] WTXX, the Hartford, CT affiliate of The CW, runs the show weekdays at 7 a.m. and Sundays at 7:30 a.m.[62] The CW affiliate in Los Angeles, CA, KTLA, airs D:TNG on Saturdays, 12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.[63] The CW affiliate WNOL-TV (New Orleans, LA) runs the show weekdays at 2:30 p.m.[64] WXMI (Grand Rapids, MI, FOX affiliate) runs the show weekdays at 3:00 p.m.[65]

Other stations also show the series outside of Program Partners’ preferred hours: Hearst-Argyle-owned WMOR-TV, an independent station in the Tampa Bay, FL market, shows Degrassi weekdays at 9:30 a.m.[66] Boston, MA area MyNetworkTV affiliate WZMY-TV, owned by Shooting Star Broadcasting, airs the show weekdays at 12:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 7:30 a.m.[67] Lockwood Broadcasting Group‘s WQCW, Huntington, WV‘s CW affiliate shows the program during the syndicator’s preferred timeslot, weekdays at 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.[68] WMYT-TV, the Charlotte, North Carolina affiliate for MyNetworkTV owned by Capitol Broadcasting Company, airs it weekdays at 7:00 a.m.[69] Hampton Roads, VA independent station WSKY-TV, owned by SKY Television LLC (not affiliated in any way with British Sky Broadcasting of the United Kingdom, nor its parent company, News Corporation), airs the show weekdays at 4:30 p.m.[70] Winston Broadcasting Network’s WBNX-TV, the Cleveland, OH affiliate of The CW airs the show weekdays at 5:00 p.m., Saturdays from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.; 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m; and Sundays at 3:30 p.m.[71]

Online distribution

In addition to traditional television broadcasting, Degrassi: The Next Generation is available to watch via streaming on the websites of CTV and The N to viewers in Canada and America respectively.[72] In Canada episodes are available to download episodes from Puretracks.[73] The episodes are a Windows Media 10 file, and will belong to the owner forever, but can only be burned onto a disc three times and copied to a device three times. An individual episode costs C$1.99, and a season costs C$29.99.[74]

In America, the show is also through Apple‘s iTunes Store for playback on an iPod or within the iTunes software. New episodes, without commercials, are available to download the day after they air on The N, to American audiences only (restriction based on iTunes registration). An individual episode costs US$1.99, while an entire season varies in price between US$19.99 to US$29.99.[75] On December 12th 2007 Apple introduced TV shows to the Canadian iTunes Store with Degrassi: The Next Generation being one of the introducutory shows. A single episode costs C$1.99; the cost for an entire season varies between C$19.99 and C$29.99.

DVD releases

Degrassi: The Next Generation – Season 1 was released in the United States as a full screen three-disc Region 1 box set by FUNimation Entertainment on September 28, 2004,[76] eighteen months after the television premiere on The N. The box set was released in Canada on October 19, 2004, and was distributed by Alliance Atlantis Home Entertainment.[77] In addition to all fifteen produced episodes, the box set also included several DVD extras including a karaoke session, audition tapes, bloopers and deleted scenes.[76]

Season two was released in Canada and America on June 21, 2005 by FUNimation Entertainment. The full screen, four-disc Region 1 box set featured all twenty-two produced episodes. The DVD extras included bloopers, deleted and extended scenes, a karaoke session and an interactive quiz.[78]

The third season was released in America on March 28, 2006. Released by Funimation Entertainment, the full screen, three-disc Region 1 box set contained all twenty-two episodes. Commentaries for the episodes “Anything Will Happen” and “Relax” were featured. Other DVD extras included the original CTV television promos, a yearbook, and a karaoke session of four songs.[79] The same box set was released to the Canadian market by Alliance Atlantis Home Entertainment on May 1, 2006.[80]

Season four of Degrassi: The Next Generation was released in Canada the same day as the third season (May 1, 2006) by Alliance Atlantis Home Entertainment.[81] It was released by FUNimation Entertainment to the American audience on October 28, 2006.[82] All twenty-two episodes featured on the full screen, four-disc Region 1 box set, which also included commentaries on the two-part episodes “Time Stands Still” and “Secret”, character and cast biographies, and PAX Gun Violence Prevention Public Service Announcements.[83]

The fifth season was released in Canada and America on July 3, 2007.[84] The full screen, four-disc Region 1 box set contained all nineteen episodes, bloopers, a music video from Simple Plan and an interview with the band, an interview with Cassie Steele (Manny Santos) and a MADD Public Service Announcement.[85]

The sixth season has not yet been released in Canada or the United States, and information regarding release dates and content details has not been announced.

The three episode arc from the fourth season in which Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes guest starred has also been released as a full screen, single disc Region 1 DVD. FUNimation Entertainment released the disc on November 8, 2005, in two versions, the first was “Uncut, Uncensored and Unrated”,[86] the second was “Rated”.[87] Each release had the same DVD extras, including an interview with Kevin Smith, Interview with Kevin Smith, bloopers and a Jay and Silent Bob Photo Album. The Unrated release also featured episode commentaries by Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Stacie Mistysyn, the associate producer Jim Jackman and writer Aaron Martin.[86]

Impact

Television ratings

Degrassi: The Next Generation is the most watched domestic drama series in Canada,[1] and is the highest rated show on The N in America,[2] averaging 250,000 viewers in 2004.[4] While that figure is still far lower than successful shows on the “big four” networks (ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC), recent season premieres have achieved higher audience figures in females aged 12-34.[57] 2004 also saw the episode “Time Stands Still, Part 2” received over half-a-million viewers in the United States,[3] and just under a million viewers in Canada.[1] With characters from Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High appearing in The Next Generation, viewers of those older shows now in their 20s and 30s make up a dedicated fan base. Approximately 40% of the show’s average number of viewers are outside of D:TNG’s 12-17 year-old target audience.[88]

Awards

From its first season, Degrassi: The Next Generation has been a critical success, winning awards in Canada and the United States. The show’s first award came in April 2002, a month after the first season ended when it was awarded “Best Ensemble in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama)” at The 23rd Annual Young Artist Awards held in Studio City, California.[89] The show was also nominated for “Best Family TV Comedy Series”, but lost to Malcolm in the Middle, while Ryan Cooley and Jake Goldsbie received nominations in the category for “Leading Young Actor in a TV Comedy Series”, but lost to Frankie Muniz of Malcolm in the Middle. The next awards the show won were at National Council on Family Relations’ (NCFR) 34th Annual Media Awards, when they gave four episodes a 1st Place Award and a fifth episode a 2nd Place Award.[90] 2002 also saw D:TNG receive an award from the Directors Guild of Canada for “Outstanding Achievement in a Children’s Television Series” for the episode “Mother and Child Reunion”, directed by Bruce McDonald,[91] and win the “Most Innovative Website Competition” at the Gemini Awards for the official Degrassi website.[90]

In the following years the show has received further recognition from the Gemini Awards and the Directors Guild of Canada, as well as winning two Teen Choice Awards and two Canadian Screenwriter Awards. In 2004, the show received a nomination for a GLAAD award,[92] but lost out to Playmakers.[93] In July 2005, Degrassi: The Next Generation won the Television Critics Association Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Children’s Programming”. It was only the second time that a non-American series has won an award in this category (the first time was Degrassi Junior High in 1988).[94]

Complementary media

The popular success of D:TNG, especially in the United States, has spurred the producers to make a number of media products complementary to the show. These include a podcast, three mini-series, three web series and three special episodes.

Podcast

Featuring interviews with castmembers, producers, and writers, the D:TNG podcasts are recorded behind-the-scenes at the studios.[95] The first podcast was released on January 16, 2007, and featured actors Mike Lobel and Daniel Clark. Six podcasts have been released since, the latest being on November 22, 2007.[96][97]

Mini-series

Degrassi Crash Course: The 100 Most Intense Moments aired in 2003, and was the first mini-series produced. It consisted of four half-hour episodes counting down the 100 most intense moments of the first two seasons of Degrassi: The Next Generation. Each episode was hosted by two different actors, and included a sneak peak of season three, which this mini-series preceded.[98]

The second mini-series, Degrassi Unscripted, premiered on August 27, 2004. Eight half-hour episodes documented the lives of different Degrassi: The Next Generation actors. The first five episodes aired in the weeks before D:TNG fourth season began; the final three episodes were held back and aired before the second block of the season in June 2005. The actors featured were Miriam McDonald, Adamo Ruggiero, Cassie Steele, Jake Epstein, Lauren Collins, Stacy Farber, Aubrey Graham and Melissa McIntyre.

Degrassi’s 40 Most Go There-est Moments was the last mini-series to be made, and aired during September 2006 as a teaser for season six of D:TNG. In a similar style to Degrassi Crash Course: The 100 Most Intense Moments the series counted down the most “Degrassi-est” moments from the previous five seasons over four weekly episodes. The specials highlighted ten moments each and featured commentaries by actors of the show. Fans of the show were encouraged to vote for their “Degrassi-est” moment on The N’s website, each week one viewer’s choice from a different category was shown.[99]

Web series

2006 saw CTV and The N begin streaming D:TNG episodes on their websites, and on February 2, 2006, they premiered the first internet-only web series, Degrassi Minis, produced by Stefan Brogren. Some of the two to three minute long webisodes take place between existing episodes of the television show, whereas others are completely fantastical takes on the Degrassi universe.[100] In keeping with each Degrassi: The Next Generation episode being titled after a 1980s song, the first eight episodes of season one Minis were also named after songs from that decade. Following a successful run, a second season began November 17, 2006.[101]

Degrassi on the Set also premiered during 2006. Nineteen episodes were produced. The series showed the backstage action from season six.[102]

Degrassi Mangasodes is the third web series, and the only one to be animated. As of February 15, 2007, two episodes have streamed on CTV’s and The N’s websites. The shorts, adapted from scenes from the Degrassi: Extra Credit books written by J. Torres,[103] are produced by Yowza! Animation, whose productions include Osmosis Jones, Titan AE and Looney Tunes Back in Action,[104] scripted by J. Torres[105] and animated by James McCrimmon.[104] The episodes feature the Degrassi: The Next Generation actors providing the voices for their animated characters.[106]

Special episodes

On September 30, 2005, the special episode “Degrassi Behind The Scenes” celebrated 25 years of the Degrassi franchise,[107] and featured interviews with the cast, bloopers and deleted scenes from the series. The episode aired on The N in America, but never aired in Canada.

Degrassi of the Dead“, which referenced the zombie movie Dawn of the Dead, was a Halloween special that was not part of the regular episodes or Degrassi continuity.[54] It did, however, feature a number of D:TNG actors in character, some had turned into zombies after eating genetically modified food in the school cafeteria, while others were trying to escape.[108] The second half of the episode was a behind-the-scenes look at the episode, with Cassie Steele, Aubrey Graham and Lauren Collins. “Degrassi of the Dead” aired on October 26, 2007 on The N,[55] and four days later on CTV.[56] The episode was directed by Stefan Brogren,[109] and originally made as a series of Degrassi Minis webisodes, or “zombiesodes”,[110] and was made available on The N and CTV’s broadband streaming viewers, as five “Zombiesodes” with an extra “Snaggable” of Aubrey Graham dancing to a Halloween themed rap performed by Brogren,[111]

Degrassi in Kenya“, the third special, aired October 18, 2007 on MTV in Canada.[112] It documented the cast of D:TNG visiting the Masai Mara, Kenya to build an extension onto Motony Primary School.[113]

Licensed merchandise

Due to the popular success of Degrassi: The Next Generation, a number of products based on the show have been licensed for release. On November 1, 2005, a soundtrack album for the show was released by Orange Record Label in Canada entitled Songs from Degrassi: The Next Generation. The N released The N Soundtrack through Nick Records on August 28, 2006 in the United States. The album includes an extended version of the theme song, featuring a rap written and performed by Turkish rapper Evren Ozdemir,[114] as well as other songs from D:TNG as well as other The N shows Instant Star, South of Nowhere, Beyond the Break, and Whistler. “Turning Japanese”, the first graphic novel in the Degrassi: Extra Credit series was released on October 12, 2006 in Canada by H.B. Fenn,[115] and November 21, 2006 in America by Pocket Books, a division of Simon ‘ Schuster.[116] Three more graphic novels, “Suddenly, Last Summer”, “Missing You” and “Safety Dance” have been also released.[117] The stories in Degrassi: Extra Credit cover and expand upon unseen plots and elements that have not been addressed on the show.[118] On August 23, 2005 H.B. Fenn published Degrassi: Generations – The Official 411, an encyclopædic guidebook that details script guidelines for the show, biographies of actors from Degrassi High and D:TNG, details the bands in the show and contains over seven hundred pictures.[119]

Footnotes and references

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  3. ^ a b Cynopsis Media (200412-15). “SABRINA IS MAKING MAGIC IN NEW YORK!!”. Press release. Retrieved on 200710-21.“This past Friday night at 8p, The N (6p-6a) premiered Part II of Degrassi: The Next Generation School Shooting episode subtitled Time Stands Still. The play was the highest rated show in the network’s history earning a 2.7 for Teens 12-17, and a 4.7 gal Teens 12-17. Degrassi School shooting was watched by 540,000 viewers making this the most watched telecast ever on The N.”
  4. ^ a b Armstrong, Jennifer (2004-10-01). “Fast Times at Degrassi High”, Entertainment Weekly (Time Inc.) (no. 786). Retrieved on October 21, 2007. “The latest Degrassi incarnation, which has slicker production values, wittier banter, and more seasoned teen actors than the original, has generated some buzz for its tiny digital-cable and satellite network, averaging 250,000 viewers an episode. (That’s large considering we’re talking digital cable.)”
  5. ^ Neihart, Ben (2005-03-20), “DGrassi Is tha Best Teen TV N da WRLD!”, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/20/magazine/20DEGRASSI.html?_r=1’oref=slogin. Retrieved on October 21, 2007
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  8. ^ Ellis: p. 10
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  118. ^ Weiland, Jonah “Degrassi: Extra Credit” Graphic Novels Officially Announced Comic Book Resources (January 10, 2006): “But there’s so much more that never makes it to the screen. What happens during summer vacation? What about the off-camera, after-school lives of the Degrassi students? What are the characters’ home lives really like? What about the weeks that go by in the Degrassi world between one episode and the next? Surely, some good stuff must be going on — and the fans want to know!”
  119. ^ Boudreau, Tanya (2006). Young adult book *Degrassi Generations: The Official 411* by Kathryn Ellis. Curled Up With a Good Kid’s Book. Retrieved on 200710-26.
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