All had seemed set to take us back to the hallways of Degrassi Community School, but in an unfortunate turn of events, HBO Max has decided against moving forward with the Degrassi reboot which would have been the 6th installment of the beloved teen TV drama franchise. The news is sure to disappoint fans of the revered series who were anticipating the revival with Degrassi: Next Class having drawn its curtains in 2017 after airing briefly on Netflix.
While HBO Max is yet to release an official statement on its decision, The Wall Street Journal bore the bad news in a recent report analyzing the financial difficulties faced by Warner Bros. Discovery in the wake of the recent high-profile merger between Warner Media and Discovery Inc. Fans had first been given a reason to worry over the fate of the revival when the streamer announced back in August that it was going to ax a few of its planned scripted shows as part of its restructuring plan. With the much-anticipated Batgirl canceled as part of that shake-up, it was clear that no series was safe. As the WSJ report notes, “the new leadership has canceled and written off projects aimed at children and teens for HBO Max. Shows no longer going forward include Charlotte’s Web, a co-production with Sesame Workshop, and Degrassi, a co-production with WildBrain Studios.”
The streamer green-lit the revival in January ordering 10 hour-long episodes expected to premiere on its platform in 2023. Lara Azzopardi (The Bold Type) and Julia Cohen (A Million Little Things) were brought on board to serve as showrunners taking over from franchise co-creator, Linda Schuyler and Stephen Stohn who served as a creative partner on Degrassi: The Next Generation, the most successful series run in the franchise’s history. Casting was said to have commenced on the series with filming scheduled to begin this past summer, but sadly, it was not to be.
“What excites us maybe the most about reviving this beloved franchise is turning it into a truly serialized one-hour drama,” the newly commissioned showrunners said upon the series’ order in a joint statement. “We’re honored to be given the opportunity to lead this evolution and bring this iconic series back into people’s homes.” The streamer equally made promising remarks on the series saying that the franchise “continues to make an indelible impact on young viewers looking for trustworthy and authentic storytelling.” The reboot was planned to revive the original teen drama which launched about 5 decades ago with The Kids of Degrassi Street and would have followed a new group of teenagers as they explore adolescent living and confront social issues including sexuality, and mental health.
Previous installments have won a host of awards while serving as a launchpad for the careers of several stars including Nina Dobrev, rapper Drake, and Shenae Grimes, among many others. While announcing the ill-fated revival in January, HBO Max also revealed that it had acquired the US rights to The Next Generation which became available to stream on its platform in March.