'Degrassi: Next Class' Creator Talks Switch to Netflix: "That's Where the Kids Are"
Linda Schuyler predicts more hookups and breakdowns via social media on the teen soap's latest edition, set to bow in January.
Degrassi franchise creator and executive producer Linda Schuyler recalls telling the cast of Degrassi: New Generation that they were leaving Teen Nick after 14 seasons for a new home, Netflix, and then receiving a loud round of applause.
"That's where the kids are," she told the Hollywood Reporter ahead of the Canadian teen soap's latest reboot, Degrassi: Next Class, debuting 20 new episodes worldwide on the U.S. streamer starting on Jan. 15, 2016, and on Family Channel in Canada. The U.S. streamer is the new worldwide home for the long-running Degrassi franchise, excluding Canada, Australia and France, where the series will stream on Netflix at later dates.
The Degrassi franchise from DHX Studios launched the careers of the rapper Drake, 90210's Shenae Grimes and The L.A. Complex's Cassie Steele. New cast joining the iconic teen drama about Toronto high school students includes Amir Bageria as Baaz Nahir, Soma Bhatia as Goldi Nahir, Jamie Bloch as Yael Baron, Chelsea Clark as Esme Song and Dante Scott as Vijay Miraj.
Schuyler said Degrassi: Next Class on Netflix is perfect for a new young audience increasingly in front of their smartphone or tablet screen, and caring less about appointment TV. "The audience keeps renewing itself and the fact that technology keeps changing and the way kids communicate is changing, it gives us lots of opportunities to keep the stories fresh and new," Schuyler said.
That includes the drama's Degrassi Community School having new social media apps on which to find new love and big dreams. "They're having to learn the social media protocol as they go along, and it's a protocol that their parents don't even understand," Schuyler said of the next Degrassi edition's drama.
At the same time, some things never change, especially teenage angst over falling in and out of love, complete with hookups, breakdowns and new life lessons. "At its core, it's the teenage experience of the 1980s and 1990s, and then the millennials, and now we're talking to Generation Z, there's so much common experience that all teenagers go through, that's the familiar side of Degrassi," she assured.
In Canada, Degrassi: Next Class will anchor a new primetime block on Family Channel, F2N, which has also acquired a slate of reality, drama and comedy fare from AwesomenessTV, including Third Wheel, Life After Friday and Cheerleaders.
"What better show to have at the helm of our teen offering than Degrassi: Next Class, a series that has spanned generations by exploring discussion-worthy topics that matter to teens in a responsible manner," Joe Tedesco, senior vp and general manager of DHX Television, said.