DAILY NEWS Oct 25, 2012 8:08 AM - 0 comments

Longest-Running Canadian Drama Ever Celebrates On TV, Online

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The iconic Canadian media franchise Degrassi will air its historic 300th episode this Friday, Oct. 26 on the MuchMusic specialty service.

The episode also marks the 400th episode of the entire franchise since it first landed on Canadian TV back in 1980, making the series the longest-running English language drama in Canadian history, topping the 387 episodes of The Beachcombers

Today, the series is well-integrated with new digital developments, such as the Degrassi Chat mobile app. It has explored social media, mobile apps and even a 3D Degrassi.

To celebrate its newest milestone, a new online contest to win access to exclusive behind-the-scenes content and video clips is being held.  As well, complete episodes from the series are available online as streaming video.

It all began back in 1979, when Linda Schuyler and Kit Hood acquired the rights to the book Ida Makes a Movie by Kay Chorao. They adapted it into the first episode of The Kids of Degrassi Street, produced by Playing With Time Inc. It aired the next year on CBC

In 1982, CBC ordered 26 episodes of The Kids. That show became Degrassi Junior High, produced by CBC in association with PBS.

By 1989, the show graduated to Degrassi High, and soon, as a made for TV movie called School's Out.

Many awards, citations and even related documentaries followed, but in early 2001, the producers began discussions about a new series.

That year, CTV began principal photography Degrassi: The Next Generation, a 15-part, 30-minute sequel series to the franchise, which has been renewed regularly ever since. The series continued on CTV for several years, then moved to MuchMusic.

“Very few television series have had an impact on multiple generations the way Degrassi has,” said Catherine MacLeod, Vice-President, Specialty Channels. “Degrassi is still as relevant today as it was thirty years ago, and we’re proud to be a part of this moment in television history.”

“How rare and wonderful it is to have an opportunity to tell 300-plus stories about teenage life,” said Linda Schuyler, Executive Producer, Epitome Pictures. “This is a testament to exceptional teamwork with our cast, crew, writers and our longstanding partnerships with CTV, MuchMusic and TeenNick.”

Since its inception, the show has addressed issues and circumstances of young people’s lives, and willingly addressed controversial topics like teen pregnancy, drug use, bullying, sexuality, and sexual identity, with honesty and frankness.

The series’ impact has been recognized with a Peabody Award in 2011, seven Gemini Awards, and two Teen Choice Awards. It has also received nominations for some of the industry’s most coveted awards, including two Primetime EMMY Award nominations, and four GLAAD Media Award nominations.

In Friday’s episode, Ben Mulroney from CTV’s ETALK guest stars, playing himself as the host of a beauty pageant.

Degrassi is produced by Epitome Pictures in association with MuchMusic/CTV. The series was co-created by Linda Schuyler, co-producer of the original Degrassi series and Yan Moore. Schuyler and Stephen Stohn serve as Executive Producers. Sarah Glinski executive produces. Distribution company for the series is Echo Bridge Entertainment. For Bell Media, Gosia Kamela and Mike Richardson are Production Executives. Trish Williams is Director, Drama, Independent Production. Corrie Coe is Senior Vice-President, Independent Production. Neil Staite is Vice-President and General Manager, Music and Entertainment. Catherine MacLeod is Vice-President, Specialty Channels. Rick Brace is President, Specialty Channels and CTV Production, and Phil King is President, CTV Programming and Sports.

Much is a division of Bell Media, owned by BCE Inc.

For more Mediacaster Magazine coverage related to this topic, please see:

Degrassi Returns with Live Broadcast and Video Stream

New DeGrassi Content on Broadband

Online Elements Expand on Degrassi

3-D Degrassi Launches in Virtual World

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