Degrassi: The Next Generation Wins Prestigious Television Critics Association Award

Degrassi: The Next Generation Wins Prestigious Television Critics Association Award
Toronto, ON (July 24, 2005) – CTV’s Degrassi: The Next Generation bested four American series to win “Outstanding Achievement in Children’s Programming” at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Awards in Los Angeles last night.

The original CTV production beat out fellow nominees SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora The Explorer, Nick News and Postcards From Buster and marks only the second time that a non-American series has ever won an award in this category – the other being Degrassi Junior High in 1988.

“As Canadians we were thrilled just to have been nominated amongst all those American heavyweight programs,” said Stephen Stohn, Executive Vice-President: Epitome Pictures Inc. “To have actually won makes us thrilled and even more proud to be Canadian!”

Described as “Tha Best Teen TV N da WRLD!” (New York Times Magazine) and “a cult favorite lurching quickly toward becoming a runaway sensation” (LA Daily News), the announcement comes hot on the heels of the recent nomination for Degrassi for another American honour: a Teen Choice Award for “Best Summer Series”. The winners will be announced Tuesday, August 16.

Degrassi: The Next Generation also recently won a Canadian Screenwriters Award for “Best Youth Script – Mercy Street” and The Shaw Rocket Prize celebrating Excellence in Children’s Television, voted on by children across Canada.

The TCA Awards honour the finest work of the 2004-05 season as selected by the association’s 200-plus member critics and journalists from the United States and Canada. For 20 years the TCA has honoured outstanding achievement in television and enduring contributions to the medium’s heritage.

Nineteen new half-hour episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation are currently in production for CTV and will debut this fall. The fifth season of the popular teen drama also marks the 25th anniversary of the Degrassi franchise. In addition, the upcoming season will culminate with the finale episode marking the series 100th episode.

Twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations kick-off with a back to school “must have” item for Degrassi fans, the official Degrassi: The Next Generation Student Planner. Chocked full of fun facts, photos and important dates, the planner is currently available in stores across Canada. As well, Degrassi: Generations, an illustrated history and the “Official 411” of the Degrassi franchise from its beginning 25 years ago to the present, is set to debut August 29 during a special Degrassi event at the CNE Bandshell and hits stores September 6. Several Classic Degrassi and Next Generation actors will also be on hand at the CNE on “Degrassi Day ” to celebrate 25 years of Degrassi with photos and autograph opportunities.

This summer, Degrassi fans in the U.S. have the opportunity to get up close and personal with their favourite stars as Degrassi: The Next Generation hits the road on a cross-country US mall tour. Each stop features an autograph booth and a trivia centre where fans can purchase exclusive Degrassi merchandise. Last weekend’s debut stop in Orlando drew an incredible response as almost 1000 fans waited three hours to meet their favourite stars. Proof of the excitement that the series is generating south of the border: on the day of the event, the local retailer took down their Harry Potter displays and replaced them with Degrassi DVD sets. Upcoming dates are as follows: Las Vegas (July 30), Tucson (August 6), Los Angeles (August 13), San Francisco (August 20), Seattle (August 27), Chicago (September 23), Detroit (September 10), Boston (September 17), New Jersey (September 24) and Baltimore (October 1). Fans are encouraged to log on to http://www.degrassi.tv for exact mall locations and times. Further 25th anniversary announcements will be made in the coming months.

As the most successful season to date, Season Four of Degrassi: The Next Generation, was Canada’s most-watched homegrown drama for Teens (T12-17) and Adults (A18-34, A18-49 and A25-54).* Degrassi continued to set new highs last season when Emma, recovering emotionally from her presence at a dramatic school shooting, is pressured to perform oral sex. The Nov. 30 episode brought in 964,000 viewers, the series highest rated audience ever. Other bold storylines and celebrity guest stars like Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes and Alanis Morissette, garnered international media attention for the series.

Fans of the show are encouraged to check out the award-winning Degrassi Web site http://www.degrassi.tv , including the 2003 Gemini for Most Popular Website (with registered nearly 400,000 users) and Best Interactive Award in 2003 and 2002. Produced in association with CTV and Snap Media Corp., http://www.degrassi.tv provides enhanced storytelling on the web in synchronization with CTV’s television broadcasts. Degrassi’s online community continues to create lockerpages, journal entries, send d-mails and post messages on the club message boards in record numbers. In addition, “students” are able to visit the “guidance office” for assistance from the online “guidance counselor” (hyper-linked to sites such as Health Canada, Kids Help Hotline, Media Awareness Network, etc.) for help and advice on a huge range of topics that includes everything from gossip to gay parents.

Degrassi: The Next Generation is produced by Epitome Pictures in association with CTV. The series was co-created by Linda Schuyler, co-producer of the original Degrassi series, and Yan Moore. Schuyler and Stephen Stohn serve as Executive Producers.

Degrassi: The Next Generation has been successfully licensed in Britain, France, the U.S and Australia by AAC Kids, an Alliance Atlantis Division.

Epitome Pictures and its affiliate companies have been producing quality Canadian programming since 1976, including the multi-award winning, internationally recognized Degrassi franchise, The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High, which still air throughout the world. Epitome Pictures has also produced the series Liberty Street and Riverdale as well as several MOWs. For more information, please visit http://www.epitomepictures.com.

CTV, Canada’s largest private broadcaster, offers a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming. It boasts the number-one national newscast, CTV News With Lloyd Robertson, and is the number-one choice for prime-time viewing. CTV owns 21 conventional television stations across Canada and has interests in 14 specialty channels, including the number-one Canadian specialty channel, TSN. CTV is owned by Bell Globemedia, Canada’s premier multi-media company. More information about CTV may be found on the company site at http://www.ctv.ca.

*(Source: BBM)

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