Back in May we heard news that two long-cancelled TV shows were making a return. The first, Peacock’s Quantum Leap reboot, is currently seven episodes into its first season. The other, a new Degrassi reboot from HBO Max, never materialized. Now we know it’s because the show is another victim of the cancellation hammer.
This news comes from the Wall Street Journal, as part of a larger report on the current state of Warner Bros Discovery. Apparently the Degrassi reboot is one of a number of different cancelled projects that were originally aimed at kids and teenagers. That includes a version of Charlotte’s Web that was to be co-produced with Sesame Workshop.
A lot of stuff has been cancelled over at HBO Max this year. One of the most prominent examples was Batgirl which was canned after filming was over — and Warner Bros has already spent around $60 million. Critically acclaimed shows like Gentleman Jack, Snowpiercer and Raised by Wolves were also cancelled in the months around the merger between Warner Bros and Discovery.
Apparently nothing is sacred either. Senior executives are also said to have asked TBS if they could get out of a two-year deal to air Seth McFarlane’s American Dad, though this plan didn’t go forward for whatever reason. American Dad is owned by Disney, who you probably don’t want to get into an unnecessary legal battle with.
Degrassi is one of those shows that always manages to endure in some form. There have been five main Degrassi series over the past forty-something years. The original three series ran almost uninterrupted from 1979 to 1991, with Degrassi: The Next Generation coming after a ten year hiatus. That show ran until 2015, followed by Nextflix’s Degrassi: Next Class between 2016 and 2017.
Few shows can claim that kind of longevity, and it made sense that Degrassi would be back for another go at some point. Sadly, that return won’t be on HBO Max, and the reason seems to be executives clamping down on the cost of original programming.
The new Degrassi reboot was in development from Lara Azzopardi and Julia Cohen. The original creative said they would not be returning this time round, as it was time to “pass the baton” on to new leadership.
Unfortunately, we don’t know if the show can be shopped to other networks and services in the hopes of a new lease on life. The fact we haven’t heard that much about the show yet suggests development never got very far, but that doesn’t tell us very much. Maybe we’ll see Degrassi pop up again in the near future, but there’s also a very good chance we won’t. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Let’s just hope Warner Bros Discovery starts investing in some solid scripted content soon. There’s only going to be so much you can squeeze out of House of the Dragon, after all.