'Degrassi' wins award for children's TV

‘Degrassi’ wins award for children’s TV
CBC Arts

TORONTO – The CTV series Degrassi: The Next Generation is the winner of the inaugural Shaw Rocket Prize, worth $50,000.

A sequel to the Degrassi shows of the 1980s, the program was chosen by a vote of students from Grades 7 to 9.

“We are producing youth television because we believe in it and it is fantastic to be judged by and honoured by our audience,” said Linda Schuyler, creator and executive producer of the series.

Schuyler’s creation was chosen from a short list of nominees that included the Family Channel’s Franny’s Feet, and Poko and Shoebox Zoo which both air on CBC.

“Degrassi: The Next Generation is an outstanding example of high-quality youth television programming produced in Canada,” said Annabel Slaight, who chairs the fund that sponsors the award.

The prize is designed to honour independently produced Canadian children’s programming.

The short list was compiled by an international panel of children’s television experts. More than 400 students, all participants in the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Learning Through the Arts Program, voted to pick the winner.

“I thought Degrassi had plot integrity, sophistication and depth. It also had realistic conflicts and was definitely thought-provoking,” one voter remarked.

This year marks the fifth season for Degrassi: The Next Generation, as well as the 25th anniversary of the franchise. Like its predecessors, TNG dramatizes the issues faced by real high school students.

The series stars some of the original Degrassi cast as grown-ups, and celebrities like director Kevin Smith and actor Don McKellar have appeared in guest roles.

Contributors to the fund behind the prize include Shaw Communications and Star Choice. The prize will be given out for three years.

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