The cast of Degrassi: The Next Generation

HBO Max Reportedly Scrapped That New Degrassi Reboot


by Ani Bundel
Originally Published: 
Wildbrain Ltd/WarnerMedia

After originally announcing a new generation of Degrassi school kids was on the way to streaming, HBO Max has reversed course. According to Variety, the new administration in charge of Warner Brothers Discovery has scrapped the Degrassi reboot, which was initially announced in January 2022 and would have begun filming in early 2023. It is the latest in a slew of HBO Max cancellations since Discovery CEO David Zaslav took over Warner.

The original announcement of the reboot came with Warner Media announcing a deal with longtime Degrassi producer WildBrain to bring the popular Degrassi: The Next Generation to streaming. That iteration, arguably the most popular of the franchise, was famous for starring a young Aubrey Graham, now known as rapper Drake. However, the long-running Canadian teen soap had been on and off the air since 1980 with The Kids of Degrassi Street. That morphed into Degrassi Junior High, followed by Degrassi High in the early 1990s, which aired in the United States on PBS. Degrassi: The Next Generation began in the early aughts and was followed by Degrassi: Next Class, which was Netflix’s recent unsuccessful attempt at reviving the franchise. HBO Max’s edition of Degrassi would have been the show’s sixth incarnation on the small screen.

The new series was supposed to come from showrunners Lara Azzopardi (The Bold Type) and Julia Cohen (Riverdale) and would have been simply titled Degrassi. The announcement from HBO Max called the new series “A reprise of the original teen drama, Degrassi is a character-driven series about the high school experience and the thrilling, often painful journey of self-discovery.” According to the logline, the plan was to set the show in Toronto again, focusing on a diverse group of teenagers “struggling to find their new normal.”

CNW Group/WildBrain Ltd.

So, what changed? Let’s look at the nitty gritty backstory: HBO Max was initially conceived by new owners AT&T when the company purchased WarnerMedia in 2018. Before the sale, HBO was treated as a separate entity from Warner, as were other holdings of Turner, CNN, and DC Films, with niche streaming services launching for each. AT&T moved to create a one-destination streaming service under the HBO banner that included all Warner Bros. Pictures films, all DC Comics TV shows, all Turner Classic Movies, and others under a single app. This vision for HBO Max saw it also having its own set of originals, separate from HBO, which included as many franchises as the company could get its hands on, including Degrassi.

However, AT&T’s ownership was short-lived, and in 2021, it agreed to sell Warner Media to Discovery, which owns channels like Food Network, HGTV, Science, TLC, and others. The plan is still to make a single-destination app, with HBO Max merging with Discovery+ in the summer of 2023. However, the abrupt change led to many recently greenlit projects under AT&T being shelved as Discovery looks to make HBO Max profitable. Other high-profile cancelations include the nearly-completed BatGirl, HBO’s Westworld (which was already contracted for a fifth season), and TNT’s Snowpiercer, to name a few.

And thus, Degrassi fans will have to wait a little longer for the next next generation to arrive. All Degrassi: The Next Generation episodes are still streaming on HBO Max.

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