Family Channel Announces Degrassi: Next Class Premiere Date, New Teen Timeslot F2N, First 5 Minutes of Episode 1

I don’t know about all of you, but I’m still trying to catch my breath after today’s round of Degrassi: Next Class announcements!

It all started this morning when cast members Sara Waisglass, Ricardo Hoyos, and Stefan Brogren appeared on Toronto’s Breakfast Television to promote Degrassi’s upcoming season. It ended with a slew of new trailers, sneak peeks, opening credits, interviews and more!

In case you were at work or school and missed out on all the fun, here is an overview of everything Degrassi that was released today. Prepare yourselves because it’s all so unbelievably exciting that you may not be able to concentrate on anything other than Degrassi after this.

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New Year, New Look, New Degrassi! Everything you need to know about Degrassi: Next Class on Netflix in 2016

Degrassi is back with a new network, new look, new cast and new drama!

Degrassians got a thrilling wake up call this morning when Netflix released the first trailer for Degrassi: Next Class. The trailer, which is approximately 1 minute in length, includes a ton of exciting new clips from the upcoming season. Netflix has geo-blocked the trailer, but Canadians can watch it on ET Canada’s Blog.

But it’s not all about the trailer. In addition to the trailer, new details on Degrassi: Next Class have been revealed. Here is a brief summary of everything that was announced today:

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Linda Schuyler & Stefan Brogren Address Degrassi Controversy

If you are a Degrassi fan, the name Florida Family Association should probably sound familiar. This conservative organization has been criticizing Degrassi for years because of the show’s many LGBT characters. They have lead various email campaigns in an attempt to get companies to stop advertising during episodes of Degrassi.

Degrassi producers Linda Schuyler and Stefan Brogren addressed the controversy in separate interviews this past week. A major storyline in season 12 involves a split along religious lines over LGBT issues. Many fans have speculated that this storyline is in response to the FFA.

On that topic, Stefan Brogren said, “The truth is, there’s a lot of kids out there who hold very deeply onto their faith, and that can cause problems within the teen community.” Degrassi seems committed to portraying the religious characters fairly (both of them are regulars), as opposed to instantly making them the “bad guy.” Of course, Degrassi will also continue giving storylines to Adam, one of the first teenage transgender characters in TV history. “It’s something that we wanted to address for a couple of years,” Stefan told The Toronto Star, “but we really didn’t know how. We didn’t know what the stats were. But we’ve become aware of how many young people are dealing with questions about their gender.”

Ultimately, it’s clear that the producers and writers are aware of the FFA controversy, but that only seems to make them more passionate about accurately portraying LGBT characters on the show. “We’re continuing to challenge people in their tolerance and understanding of sexual identity,” Linda Schuyler said in a recent interview. “[The FFA] have that narrow mindset, and then they say they are against bullying. It’s just insane. They were quite active, writing to our broadcasters, asking them to pull ads from our show. Fortunately, neither broadcaster responded.

Q&A: Degrassi producer Linda Schuyler on what to expect this school year
Degrassi, Then and Now

Stefan Brogren Teases Last Line of First Episode

Stefan Brogren took to Twitter to tease fans with this picture earlier today. It shows the last line from the first episode of season 12. It looks like “behind his head” will be the last shot of the episode. What do you think it means?

The Secret to Degrassi’s Success

With the recent premiere of Landon Liboiron’s new show Terra Nova, it’s clear that Degrassi is still one of the top teen shows for discovering new talent. From Shenae Grimes to Nina Dobrev, several of Degrassi’s cast members have gone on to take Hollywood by storm.

In a new interview with The TV Addict, Degrassi executive producer/writer/director/actor Stefan Brogren explains his thoughts on the secret to Degrassi’s success:

I think it has a lot to do with the show’s caring environment that allows young actors to flourish … Our kids are getting a lot of education while they’re behind these walls that allows them to experiment. That and, we’re always putting these characters through hell which means they have to grow and they never get soft about it. We don’t want to keep these kids on a certain plain and they’re always trying to take it to the next level.

He also discusses the importance of Degrassi being an ensemble effort:

I think a big part of our alumni’s success is that the show is not a star vehicle for one person, it really is a group activity in a lot of ways. We get them when they’re young where they have to learn to work with others. So if this place was an acting school, the one thing that they’re learning is to be giving to their other actors and I think that’s a big big thing that a lot of young actors miss is that there’s some give and take involved. They come out of here really well rounded people in a lot of ways and they’ve learned a lot of skills.

My take: You definitely get the sense that Degrassi is more like a performing arts company as opposed to a TV show. The current cast of Degrassi are well aware that this show has been around longer than they’ve even been alive, so they become a part of the group instead of the “star.” The Degrassi cast are given the opportunity to experience fame in small doses, but still represent the longstanding Degrassi “brand.” I’m proud of all of our cast members, and I’m sure they will continue to find success in the future.

Click here to read the full article!

Stefan Brogren Weighs in on ‘Skins’ Controversy

Degrassi producer/director/actor Stefan Brogren was recently part of a panel discussion with The National Post talking about the controversy surrounding the North American remake of the hit British teen drama Skins. While the North American version is getting mixed reviews, the British version is definitely popular amongst Degrassi fans. Like Degrassi, Skins is known for pushing boundaries and dealing with difficult subject matter. However, with its debut on American soil, groups have called Skins “dangerous” and compared it to child pornography. Here is some of what Stefan had to say on the topic:

Stefan: I might be a little biased on this subject for a couple reasons. One: I really liked the U.K. version of the show. I think they pushed the subject matter in a way that teens respond to. Two: Samir Rehem, who directed several episodes of the U.S. Skins, also happens to be one of my best friends — so I have to like it. Three: I work on a show that has always tried to push the boundaries of teen television. Yeah, we like to show moral consequences. If one of our characters has sex, half the time they’re going to pay for it with a nice case of gonorrhea. But I can appreciate a teen show like Skins showing the ugly side of teendom — without consequences. Young audiences are smarter than we give them credit for … and I’m tired of Gossip Girl.

Click here to read the full discussion with Stefan and other TV experts.

Degrassi Wins at the Gemini Awards

The Drama, Children’s & Youth, Comedy & Variety Industry Gala for the 25th Annual Gemini Awards took place in Toronto tonight. As you may already know, Degrassi was up for 5 awards including Best Children’s or Youth Program and Best Performance in a Children’s or Youth Series. With a few Degrassi cast members in attendance tonight (Charlotte, Daniel, Melinda), Degrassi picked up 2 awards! The first was for Best Director in a Youth Program or Series – Stefan Brogren and the second was Best Performance in a Youth Program or Series – Charlotte Arnold. Also, Linda Schuyler was presented with her Academy Achievement Award. We’re so proud! Congratulations to all the winners!

Don’t forget that the Gemini Awards Broadcast Gala will be taking place on Nov. 13th! That’s when the list of your Fave Canadian TV Shows will be counted down. Degrassi needs to be #1!

Paula & Stefan on BiteTV

Stefan tweeted earlier this week that he and Paula were going to be on BiteTV. Now, the video has been posted online! In these interviews, Paula and Stefan talk about what will happen next on Degrassi. The love triangles, the drama, etc. These contain spoilers!

Paula’s Interview
Stefan’s Interview