Noggin Is Enrolling in Junior High

Los Angeles Times: Noggin Is Enrolling in Junior High


Noggin Is Enrolling in Junior High


April 1 2002

Noggin, Nickelodeon and Sesame Workshop’s
educational cable network for preschoolers, is extending its reach to “tweens,”
young people ages 9 to 14.

Among a host of old and new shows that will
fill the new 12-hour block of programming called “The N,” launching today, is an
updated version of the much-lauded 1980s PBS series “Degrassi Junior High,”
which followed the funny and fraught stories of several fictional students into
high school. It will be seen Mondays at 6 and 9 p.m., beginning

“Degrassi: The Next Generation” returns to middle school. It’s the
same mix of youthful soap opera, humor and a careful but frank approach to
real-life challenges facing seventh- and eighth-graders, updated for an age of
cell phones, computers and the Internet. The opener introduces, among others,
high-achieving eighth-grader Ashley; her boyfriend Jimmy; and her new
stepbrother and nemesis, Toby, a seventh-grader; as well as the mildly wanton
Paige; Toby’s comic-minded pal, J.T.; Toby’s crush, Emma; and her crush, Sean.
Their stories will be unfolding over 28 episodes.

In the first two
installments, Ashley and Toby reach a tentative truce after a dirty-tricks
campaign for student body president; Ashley and Jimmy decide whether to have
sex; and Toby finds that unrequited love hurts.

Tame compared with
“Boston Public” or any number of leering, teen-focused sitcoms–the language is
clean and the young actors don’t look like knowing 24-year-olds–“Degrassi: The
Next Generation” is as direct as the original. In one episode, a Dr. Ruth-style
sex educator uses a banana as a visual aid in a discussion about safe sex and
condom use.

Other new weekly “N” programs, airing 6 p.m to 6 a.m., are
“24Seven,” a British drama series set at an international boarding school;
“Being Eve,” a comedy about a 15-year-old girl; and new episodes of Noggin’s
original “A Walk in Your Shoes,” a reality series in which two kids from
different backgrounds briefly switch places.

Rounding out the block are
Melissa Joan Hart’s early Nick hit, “Clarissa Explains It All”; the “Big Kids”
role-reversal comedy series about parents and kids; the educational
“Ghostwriter” and “The New Ghostwriter Mysteries”; a comedy-improv game show,
“Sponk!”; and “The Adventures of Pete and Pete.”

The Noggin programming
block, airing 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., ranges from “Blue’s Clues,” “Franklin” and other
preschooler favorites to the new “Sesame Street” offshoot, “Play With Me
Sesame,” with Muppet pals Ernie, Bert and more.

If you want other stories on this topic, search
the Archives at For information
about reprinting this article, go to


Comments are closed.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s