Hood brought 'form' to franchise [playback mag]

Degrassi: 25 Years of Keeping It Real; [Playback]

LENGTH: 309 words

BY: Gord McLaughlin

Kit Hood, a British-born film director and editor and former child actor, co-created the Degrassi concept with Linda Schuyler when the two were a couple back in 1979.

In fact, the first three drama series in the franchise, Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi High and Degrassi Junior High, were all produced under the banner of Playing with Time, a company they co-owned.

“Kit and I used to laugh and say that he was form and I was content,” says Schuyler. Hood’s background made him a great fan of British kitchen-sink realism of the 1960s.

“You can feel that influence in the early Degrassis,” says Schuyler. But she finds it hard to neatly distinguish the contributions of herself, Hood and original series writer Yan Moore.

“We caught an authenticity that I don’t think any one of us working alone could have done,” she says.

Hood’s last project in the Degrassi series was Degrassi Talks, a 1992 doc series about Canadian youth issues hosted by Degrassi actors. Hood also directed some episodes of Liberty Street, a half-hour drama produced by Epitome Pictures (Schuyler’s current prodco) for the CBC in 1994/95.

But Hood and Schuyler went their own ways personally, and she is now married to entertainment lawyer Stephen Stohn, who is also executive VP of Epitome.

Hood, who could not be reached for this article, has retired to the East Coast “as a gentleman farmer,” according to Moore. However, as a Degrassi co-creator, Hood continues to benefit financially from the success of the franchise.

“We worked out a deal where we pay back a royalty to the owners of the original trademark,” says Schuyler, “which happens to be Kit and me. When I wanted to go ahead and do The Next Generation, Kit’s comment to me was, ‘I think you’re insane.’ He’s retired to such a gorgeous place, I sometimes think maybe he’s right.”

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