Degrassi: The Next Generation (renamed Degrassi from the tenth season) is a Canadian teen drama television series set in the Degrassi universe, which was created by Linda Schuyler and Kit Hood in 1979. Degrassi is the fourth fictional series in the Degrassi franchise, and follows The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High, and Degrassi High. Like its predecessors, Degrassi: The Next Generation follows an ensemble cast of students at Degrassi Community School who face various challenges, such as poor self-image, peer pressure, child abuse, sexual identity, gang violence, self-injury, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, death, and a number of other issues. The series was created by Linda Schuyler and Yan Moore, and is produced by Epitome Pictures in association with CTV. The current executive producers are Schuyler, her husband Stephen Stohn and Brendon Yorke. The series is filmed at Epitome's studios in Toronto, Ontario, rather than on the real De Grassi Street from which the franchise takes its name.
A critical success, Degrassi: The Next Generation has often received favourable reviews from Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, and AfterElton.com. In its initial years, it was frequently the most watched domestic drama series in Canada, and one of the highest-rated shows on TeenNick in the United States. In 2004, for example, one episode received just under a million viewers in Canada, and over half a million viewers in the US. In recent seasons, however, viewing figures have begun to drop. The series has won numerous awards, from the Geminis, Writers Guild of Canada and Directors Guild of Canada, and internationally from the Teen Choice Awards, Young Artist Awards, and Prix Jeunesse. Filmmakers/actors Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes are fans of the show, and have guest starred in seven episodes.
The series premiered on CTV on October 14, 2001. In 2010, during the ninth season, the series moved to CTV's youth-oriented sister channel, MuchMusic, and the tenth season marked a change in production style which saw the series become a telenovela, a daily soap opera. The first half of season 12 aired 20 episodes in its first five weeks, and premiered on July 16, 2012. 305 episodes have aired as of November 23, 2012, and the twelfth season is in continued production. The series has been syndicated on cable television, and episodes are available on DVD and in new media download formats from Puretracks, the iTunes Store, and the Xbox Live Marketplace. Internationally, Degrassi: The Next Generation has been highly successful in the US, where it is broadcasted on channels such as TeenNick, MTV, and ABC Family, as well as being broadcasted in 140 countries.