famiglia also back on CTV Sunday nights
– The Sopranos will return on CTV this fall with all its language,
nudity, violence, wit and wise guys intact, the network has
confirmed. But it was a new series with a name that would
be right at home in The Sopranos’ cast list that was attracting
the most attention from TV critics yesterday.
Degrassi: The Next Generation, an update on the groundbreaking
CBC teen series that has taken on cult status since it went
out of production 10 years ago, debuts in October on Sundays
at 7:30 p.m. Some of the original teen cast, now in their
late 20s, were on hand yesterday to offer advice to the 11
youngsters chosen from among 600 who auditioned for the series
of half-hour shows.
“Don’t forget to take your mike off before you go to
the bathroom,” said Amanda Stepto, who played teen mom,
Spike, in the original series.
“And be careful what you say because the writers are
always listening,” said Stacie Mistysyn, who was the
series’ sweet-natured Caitlin.
Also on hand were Pat Matroianni (Joey) and Stefan Brogren
(Snake). All four characters, and any others from the original
cast that producer Linda Schuyler can round up, will appear
in the hour-long high school reunion episode that kicks of
the series. Stepto and Brogren have continuing roles: the
daughter whom Spike gave birth to in Grade Eight is now in
junior high and one of the show’s central characters (Miriam
McDonald); and Snake, more formerly referred to as Mr. Simpson,
is a teacher at the school. Also back for the new series will
Mr. Raditch (Dan Woods), now Degrassi’s principal.
Degrassi: The Next Generation will be paired on Sunday nights
with a half-hour teen documentary series called Degrassi.tv,
which is also the name of the series interactive Website.
Sunday nights will also play host to Tony, Uncle Junior, Christopher
and the rest of TV’s most dysfunctional famiglia, as CTV brings
The Sopranos back to conventional TV for the second year running.
The first season aired as a nightly alternative to the Sydney
Olympics. This year, the show will air for 13 weeks Sundays
at 10 p.m. (opposite The Practice), beginning in October.
For those who missed the first season, CTV will be repeating
it on Sunday nights beginning July 22.
CTV has renewed all of its Canadian primetime programming
except the nominally Canadian fantasy series, Twice in a Lifetime.
Back next season will be 13 episodes of the Vancouver police
series Cold Squad, and 18 episodes of the Toronto law-office
melodrama, The Associates.
While the network has larded its schedule with U.S. reality
series again this year — a second season of The Mole on Friday
nights, and the new series The Amazing Race on Wednesdays
to be followed by the similar cross-country adventure series
The Runner — there are no Canadian reality series in the
wings, says the network’s variety and comedy programmer Ed
Robinson. However, the network has obtained the rights to
create its own Canadian versions of The Mole and The Runner,
should they become runaway hits.