Noggin Tackles Tween Issues with "DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION"

Noggin Tackles Tween Issues with “DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION” (4/1/02)
Wed, Mar 27, 2002 05:01 PM PDT

Noggin, the commercial free, educational network from Nickelodeon and Sesame Workshop, will unveil a new series, Degrassi: The Next Generation on its newly-created programming block for tweens entitled, The N. The new half-hour dramatic series will premiere on Monday, April 1 at 9:00 PM (ET/PT).

Degrassi: The Next Generation is produced by Epitome Pictures in association with CTV, the same creators of the popular, award-winning Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High which aired in the US in the 1980s. The new, 28-episode series introduces the next generation of kids going through the trials and tribulations of adolescence in the 21st century. The series will air regularly Mondays at 9:00 PM (ET/PT) on The N.

Twelve-year old Emma, (daughter of Spike from the original series Degrassi High), is entering a new phase in her life, 7th grade at the newly refurbished Degrassi Community School. The series follows Emma (Miriam McDonald) and her “next generation” schoolmates, Ashley (Melissa McIntyre), Terri (Christina Schmidt), Jimmy (Aubrey Graham), Sean (Daniel Clark), Manny (Cassie Steele), Liberty (Sarah Barrable Tishauer), Paige (Lauren Collins), Spinner (Shane Kippel), Toby (Jake Goldsbie) and J.T. (Ryan Cooley) as they journey through the school year.

There they encounter the same pressures, temptations, challenges and issues that their parents generation did. But for them, its a whole new environment. These kids may be more media savvy and more articulate than their parents but not necessarily more sophisticated.

Staying true to its core of realistic storytelling, Degrassi: The Next Generation explores such topics as self-esteem, peer pressure, communication with parents, emerging sexuality, drug and alcohol use, academic stress and the search for an identity within a group.

Degrassi: The Next Generation is an important series in that it follows our educational mission of helping kids figure out their lives and presents a platform from which kids and adults can talk about important social issues and their consequences, said Tom Ascheim, General Manager, Noggin. Degrassi: The Next Generation portrays real-life situations facing tweens with honesty, empathy and humor and allows our audience to reflect on the choices they make in their own lives.

In the first episode (Family Politics), Ashley campaigns to be class President. However, her step-brother Toby, frustrated by sibling rivalry, convinces his friend JT to run against her. The conflict follows them home — where Ashley’s mother upholds Toby’s right to support JT. In an act of desperation, Ashley pays off JT to drop out of the race. When Toby learns of this, he threatens to expose her to the entire school.

In the second episode (The Mating Game), Ashley and Jimmys eight-month anniversary is coming up — and so is the question of whether or not to have sex. Paige is playing Juliet opposite Jimmy’s English-class Romeo and she’s planting doubts in Ashley’s mind. If Ashley doesn’t “put out” soon, will Jimmy move on?

Noggin, a joint venture between Nickelodeon and Sesame Workshop, currently reaches over 22 million households via cable, digital cable and satellite. With two distinct program blocks, Noggin for preschoolers and The N for tweens the network helps kids to figure out their lives with educational media on-air and online (www.noggin.com and http://www.the-n.com).

Degrassi: The Next Generation is produced by Epitome Pictures Inc. in association with CTV with the participation of the Canadian Television Fund created by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Cable Industry-Telefilm Canada: Equity Investment Program and CTF: Licence Fee Program, produced with the participation of Telefilm Canada, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, with the financial participation of the Shaw Childrens Programming Initiative through the Shaw Television Broadcast Fund and the Dr. Geoffrey R. Conway Fund and with the participation of the Independent Production Fund, the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund and RBC Royal Bank, and developed in association with CTV, Snap Media and with the assistance of the Cogeco Program Development Fund.

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