New Degrassi Documentary Series Coming From WildBrain
Produced in partnership with Peacock Alley, new three-hour series dives into Degrassi lore and the teenage experience with famous alumni, cast, crew and fans
Toronto, ON – WildBrain, a global leader in kids’ and family entertainment, announces that production is now underway on a brand-new three-hour documentary series about the renowned Canadian television series, Degrassi. The as-yet-untitled documentary series is being produced in partnership with the award-winning Canadian production company Peacock Alley. Featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, the series will dive into Degrassi lore and the teenage experience with its creators, cast, crew and fans, as well as generations of filmmakers influenced by the franchise’s 40-year legacy. Commissioned by WildBrain Television, the documentary series is directed by Lisa Rideout (Sex with Sue; This is Pop) and is executive produced by Josh Scherba, Stephanie Betts and Angela Boudreault, for WildBrain, and by Carrie Mudd (Leonard Cohen: Tower of Song; Travelers) for Peacock Alley. The series is produced by Erin Sharp (Sex with Sue; Hip-Hop Evolution).
Josh Scherba, WildBrain’s President and CEO, stated: “Degrassi continues to be enormously popular, resonating with fans across generations, from adults who grew up watching the show to today’s teens who are discovering it for the first time. In fact, more people today watch Degrassi around the world than ever before. Its enduring popularity is driven by its unflinching honesty and authenticity, tackling topics and issues that teenagers everywhere face. Peacock Alley brings award-winning talent and credentials to this project, and we look forward to working with them to share this exclusive inside view of Degrassi with fans everywhere.”
Series Director Lisa Rideout added: “Adolescence is a period of firsts. First time wearing a bra, first time shaving, first dance with a crush, first awkward kiss at a party. Teens fumble their way through these experiences, trying their best to come out on the other side unscathed. Degrassi has brought these awkward, embarrassing, and unspoken truths of youth to the screen for over four decades. As someone who came of age watching Degrassi, I remember the much-needed reassurance I got from the show as a teen. Degrassi not only helped teens feel less alone, it also didn’t shy away from what we wanted to know about puberty, sex, relationships and so much more. I’m thrilled to be showcasing the enormous impact Degrassi had on the viewers, the cast, and crew, and to be telling the incredible story of one of Canada’s most successful and unique franchises.”
What makes the Degrassi franchise so wildly successful? How did this Canadian young adult soap opera break barriers to become one of the longest running teen franchises in television history? For more than four decades, watching Degrassi has been a rite of passage for teenagers everywhere, providing a mirror into their passions, struggles and triumphs as they navigate the road to selfhood. Always at the vanguard of inspiration, education and entertainment, Degrassi is one of the most iconic brands in youth culture, unafraid to tackle even the most challenging stories.
In three one-hour episodes, the new documentary series will explore the phenomenon of this hugely popular, multi award-winning, iconic franchise that has pioneered programming for teens and young adults for more than 40 years. As the world has changed through the decades, so have the topics and issues that teenagers face, and Degrassi has been right there with them. No issue has been too controversial or too real for Degrassi to explore, as it often broke new ground on such subjects as teen pregnancy, racism, AIDS, eating disorders, child abuse, learning disabilities, gender identity, violence and more.
Degrassi was originally created by Linda Schuyler and Kit Hood in 1979 out of a desire to tell authentic stories for young people that reflected the diverse generation of schoolkids that Schuyler, then a teacher, saw in her Toronto classrooms. New actors often joined the cast when they were about 14 years old—the same age as the Grade 9 kids they would be portraying when they debuted. They would age alongside their characters, playing them until they graduated high school, sometimes even returning as teachers or parents to the next generation.
Degrassi has launched the careers of numerous performers, including the recording artist Drake (then Aubrey Graham), as well as actors Raymond Ablack (Ginny & Georgia), Luke Bilyk (The Porter), Nina Dobrev (Vampire Diaries), Jake Epstein (Suits), Stacey Farber (The Spencer Sisters), Shenae Grimes (90210), Aislinn Paul (Heroes Reborn), Melinda Shankar (How to be Indie), Sara Waisglass (Ginny & Georgia) and Stefan Brogren, who first appeared as Archie “Snake” Simpson in Degrassi High and later returned as the school’s principal on Degrassi: The Next Generation and Degrassi: Next Class. Notable guest stars and cameos on Degrassi have included Chaz Bono, Billy Ray Cyrus, Vivica A. Fox, Dan Levy, Jason Mewes, Keke Palmer, Kevin Smith and Pete Wentz.
Since its debut, Degrassi has become a Canadian institution celebrated worldwide and recognized with dozens of awards across its six series, over 500 episodes and four TV movies, including two International Emmy Awards, two Teen Choice Awards and a Peabody. The Degrassi franchise includes award-winning shows such as The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High, Degrassi: The Next Generation and Degrassi: Next Class and is one of the longest running teen franchises in television history. Now owned by WildBrain, Degrassi was inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame in December 2023.