Degrassi Community School lives on. HBO Max is bringing back the beloved teen drama for its sixth iteration — and the OG stars are wasting no time weighing in.
The streaming service announced on Thursday, January 13, that Lara Azzopardi and Julia Cohen will executive produce and run the new Degrassi series.
“What excites us maybe the most about reviving this beloved franchise is turning it into a truly serialized one-hour drama,” Azzopardi and Cohen, who previously teamed up to write a season 8 episode of Degrassi in 2009, said in a statement. “We’re honored to be given the opportunity to lead this evolution and bring this iconic series back into people’s homes.”
The franchise was born with The Kids of Degrassi Street in 1979. After Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High aired in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the series returned in 2001 with Degrassi: The Next Generation, following on Degrassi Junior High character Spike’s (Amanda Stepto) daughter, Emma Nelson (Miriam McDonald).
After 10 seasons, Degrassi: The Next Generation — which launched the careers of Drake, Shenae Grimes, Nina Dobrev and more — aired under the name Degrassi until season 14 aired in 2015. In 2016, Netflix picked up Degrassi: Next Class. The fifth version of the teen drama had four 10-episode seasons.
“Now in its fourth decade, Degrassi is one of those beloved evergreen properties that demands to be refreshed for each new generation,” WildBrain president Josh Scherba said on Thursday. “Stephanie Betts, our Chief Content Officer, along with showrunners, Lara Azzopardi and Julia Cohen, have envisioned an evolution for Degrassi that, while staying true to the fundamental honesty, humanity and integrity of the brand, promises fans a journey into exciting new territory, both creatively and dramatically. We’re delighted to be partnering with HBO Max to deliver this new vision to fans and extend Degrassi’s legacy.”
OG producer Stephen Stohn, for his part, reacted to the news via Twitter.
“New Degrassi series announced!!” Stohn tweeted. “Having produced the first six series in the long-running Degrassi franchise, Linda and I think the time is perfect to pass the baton over to Lara Azzopardi and Julia Cohen for a brand-new generation of Degrassi. 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. Now they can lend their brilliance and creativity to showrunning what has turned out to be a great and enduring franchise.”
HBO Max ordered 10 episodes of the new Degrassi, which will debut in 2023. Production is set to begin this summer. Additionally, the 14 seasons of Degrassi: The Next Generation will start streaming on the platform this spring.
Scroll through for cast reactions to the reboot: