'Degrassi' cleared for Sept. takeoff


TORONTO -- Los Angeles-based Program Partners on Tuesday said it has cleared Canadian teen drama "Degrassi: The Next Generation" in 60% of the country for a September launch, including 18 of the top 25 U. S. markets.

Program Partners said the off-network distribution of "Degrassi: The Next Generation" will be anchored by a group-wide commitment from Tribune Broadcasting, with additional clearances from stations in the Belo, Clear Channel, Granite, Gray, Hubbard and Pegasus groups as well as the CW PLUS station network.

"Degrassi: The Next Generation," which is produced by Toronto-based Epitome Pictures and currently airs on CTV in Canada and The N in the U.S. market, portrays the challenges of young adulthood through students and teachers in a fictional Toronto high school.

The series' ensemble cast includes Miriam McDonald, Cassie Steele, Aubrey Graham, Deanna Casaluce, Sarah Barrable-Tishauer, Shane Kippel and Jake Goldsbie.

Program Partners found earlier success selling Canadian-made such procedural cop dramas as "Da Vinci's Inquest," "Cold Squad" and "Stone Undercover" into weekly U.S. syndication.

Outside of the U.S., "Degrassi: The Next Generation" has been sold into about 150 markets including France, Switzerland and Australia.