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Degrassi Fans Just Got The Best Possible News

Whether you've watched each episode of every series or somehow managed to avoid the franchise entirely, there is no denying the impact the "Degrassi" franchise has had on modern popular culture. "The Kids of Degrassi Street," the first entry in the series, was created in 1979 by Linda Schuyler and Kit Hood and quickly proved popular. The series, which focuses on various teen issues, began as a series of after-school specials. These specials performed so well that the network moved the project to a weekly-release format starting in 1984, a move which nearly tripled the total episode count in less than two years (via IMDb). 

After the original teen drama ended in 1986, the franchise didn't stay dormant for long. Less than a year later, production began on a reboot titled "Degrassi Junior High," which aired for a total of three seasons. The same year that series ended (rather explosively), the students of the junior high iteration graduated into the ninth grade with "Degrassi High," another series which aired for two seasons (via IMDb). While these three initial series undeniably served as the foundation of the franchise, none of them garnered as much attention as the fourth entry.

When most people think of "Degrassi," they probably think of 2001's "Degrassi: The Next Generation," a series which aired for 14 seasons and remains the longest-running series in the franchise (via IMDb). In addition to covering many of the same issues as its predecessors, "Degrassi: The Next Generation" also introduced audiences to actors like Nina Dobrev and Drake. The latest entry in the series, "Degrassi: Next Class," aired on Netflix from 2016 to 2017 (via IMDb). Since the fifth series ended, the franchise has been inactive, but recent news from HBO Max offers a light at the end of the tunnel for fans hungry for more.

HBO Max is ordering a sixth series

According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO Max is ordering another reboot of the long-running "Degrassi" franchise. The sixth version of the teen drama is expected to premiere on the streaming platform at some point in 2023. WildBrain, a media company focusing on children's entertainment, owns the Degrassi franchise and will lead production on the series, which is expected to begin in Toronto this summer. 

"I'm delighted that our first-ever commission from HBO Max is for 'Degrassi,' a truly venerable franchise with a highly devoted and passionate audience," WildBrain CEO Eric Ellenbogen said. "This is yet another evergreen property from our vast IP library that we are reviving with a fresh vision and creative-first approach."

A cast list for the series is not yet available, but Lara Azzopardi and Julia Cohen have already been tapped as showrunners and executive producers. In a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter, the duo said they are "honored to be given the opportunity to lead this evolution and bring this iconic series back into people's homes." They also noted their excitement about turning the beloved franchise into a "truly serialized one-hour drama."

Before the new series debuts, HBO Max subscribers will have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with "Degrassi: The Next Generation," which is expected to arrive on the streaming site in the spring. Netflix's "Degrassi: Next Class" will not be included in the HBO Max deal, according to The Hollywood Reporter.