Epitome Pictures Press Release

Attention Entertainment Editors:

Mixed Emotions from Degrassi Producers
Call on Prime Minister for federal legacy gift to assist troubled
industry

TORONTO, April 14 /CNW/ – Epitome Pictures Inc. is pleased to announce
that its hit series Degrassi: The Next Generation has received funding from
the Canadian Television Fund, which will assist in the production of 22 new
episodes for broadcast on CTV.
“We are ratcheting up the drama for third season,” says Degrassi creator
Linda Schuyler, “and the entire writing team is having a blast developing the
new storylines.”
At the same time, Schuyler and her partner Stephen Stohn (Executive
Producer of both Degrassi and The Juno Awards) express deep concern about the
funding crisis which looms for other Canadian drama producers. “While our
project is one of the lucky ones to receive funding, there are a shocking
number of other well-deserving projects which did not receive funding,” says
Schuyler.
“Excellent projects at CBC and CTV have been particularly decimated,”
says Stohn. “When the Canadian Television Fund introduced its new rules for
priority ranking, it was unaware that $25 million in federal funding would be
withdrawn. The unintended result is the disqualification of hugely popular
series and movies-of-the-week, mostly at CBC and CTV — the two networks
which are by far the leaders in original Canadian primetime drama.”
“We believe that Canadian storytelling is as important to the health of
our collective Canadian soul as medicare is to our bodies.”
Schuyler and Stohn make the following call for action: “We ask the
Prime Minister to consider a legacy gift to Canada, by reinstating at least
some of the withdrawn $25 million so that Canadian audiences can continue to
enjoy acclaimed shows such as This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Red Green Show and
The Eleventh Hour, in addition to a potential slate of CBC and CTV movies of
the-week and mini-series which have traditionally been the highest rated of
all drama productions.”
Concludes Schuyler, “Such a legacy gift would give time to the various
industry sectors to formulate a coordinated long-term strategy, addressing not
just CTF funding issues but also other serious problems facing tv drama in
general, and primetime dramatic series in particular.” Adds Stohn, “Three
studies are already underway for different government bodies, with the
results expected within the coming months. These can form the cornerstone of
the long-term tv strategy.”

Epitome Pictures and its related companies have been industry leaders
for twenty-five years, producing all the various Degrassi series, the popular
and prize-winning website http://www.degrassi.tv, and other productions including
Liberty Street and the soap opera Riverdale.

-30-

For further information: For a copy of the letter to the Prime Minister,
and for other information, please contact: Nicole Hamilton, (416) 752-7627,
nicole@epitomepictures.com

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