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DTNG Graduates to the Century Club as One Hundredth Episode and Season Finale Air March 20 on CTV

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In the appropriately titled two-episode finale "High Fidelity," six cast members don caps and gowns for the first ever Degrassi: The Next Generation graduation. Part One premieres Monday, March 13 at 8:30 p.m. ET, followed by Part Two - the series' 100th episode - one week later on Monday, March 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET on CTV (check local listings). Full of requisite break-ups and make-ups, it's a dramatic conclusion (see episode description below) to a season which has seen audiences increase 24 per cent* and the series break the one million viewer mark** for the first time. Degrassi: The Next Generation is Canada's most-watched Canadian drama series.

 

-- Two-part season finale features first ever graduation of "D:TNG" students --
-- Beloved characters Craig and Ashley return as dramatic break-ups and make-ups ensue --
 
**Media Note** Download photos from Degrassi: The Next Generation at www.ctvmedia.ca.
 
"Viewers respond to great stories and the long-running success of Degrassi: The Next Generation is a testament to the fact that viewers of all ages are connecting with the characters and issues presented in this show," said Susanne Boyce, CTV's President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group. "One hundred episodes of an original Canadian series is a remarkable accomplishment, not only in Canada but in the United States and around the world. Degrassi: The Next Generation is a true Canadian success story."
 
The 100th episode for Degrassi: The Next Generation is the latest in a long series of milestones that the series has enjoyed since it premiered on CTV in October 2001. Over the past five years the series has had many programming, ratings and award show highlights including:
 
April 1, 2002 - Degrassi: The Next Generation premieres on U.S. cable network The N and goes on to become the network's most-watched series.
 
Oct. 19, 2003 - Degrassi: The Next Generation wins five Gemini Awards: Best Children's or Youth Fiction Program or Series, Best Interactive, Best Direction in a Children's or Youth Program or Series, Best Performance in a Children's or Youth Program or Series and Most Popular website.
 
Jan. 26 and Feb. 9, 2004 - In a two-part episode too controversial to air in the U.S., a queasy Manny realizes that she is pregnant. In "Accidents Will Happen," Manny is torn but eventually makes the decision to have an abortion. The episode makes huge waves in North American media.
 
May 16, 2004 - Degrassi: The Next Generation was named Best Family Television Series (Comedy or Drama) at the Young Artist Awards in L.A., beating out six U.S. competitors: American Dreams, The Bernie Mac Show, Joan of Arcadia, Life with Bonnie, The Simpsons and Two and a Half Men.
 
October 12, 2004 - In one of the series' most provocative and emotional episodes ever, entitled "Time Stands Still," several students gang up on Rick (Ephraim Ellis) and won't back off. An angry Rick returns to the school with a gun and a plan for revenge. Jimmy is shot and Emma could be next. Sean (Daniel Clark) steps in and the gun goes off - leaving Rick dead.
 
October 20, 2004 - Writer/director Kevin Smith appears at a press conference where he announces that we will guest star in the first of three Degrassi: The Next Generation episodes in a fourth season story arc. Jason Mewes and Alanis Morissette also guest star in the third episode.
 
March 20, 2005 - New York Times Magazine declares CTV's Degrassi: The Next Generation as "tha best teen TV N da WRLD!" The six-page feature documented the accomplishments of the series and the surging popularity in the U.S. after its premiere on The N.
 
Aug. 15, 2005 - Just weeks after winning "Outstanding Achievement in Children's Programming" at the Television Critics Association Awards in Los Angeles, Degrassi: The Next Generation wins a coveted surfboard at the 2005 Teen Choice Awards for "Choice Summer Series."
 
September 26, 2005 - In the second episode of the fifth season, Degrassi: The Next Generation surpasses the million-viewer mark for the first time, according to Nielsen Media Research.
 
March 5, 2006 - Degrassi cast members Miriam McDonald and Cassie Steele appear on the cover of Fashion 18 magazine.
 
March 20, 2006 - Six cast members graduate as Degrassi: The Next Generation celebrates its 100th episode and fifth season finale.
 
In the two-part season finale, the Degrassi students are eagerly making plans for the future as the school year comes to a close. After prying the information from Manny (Cassie Steele), Darcy (Shenae Grimes) discovers that Spinner isn't a virgin and that he has been lying to her all along. A huge fight follows and Spinner runs off to his old girlfriend Paige (Lauren Collins), who has just broken off with her girlfriend Alex (Deanna Casaluce). It seems like the old Spinner is back and that he and Paige have reunited, but for how long? Meanwhile, Degrassi is gripped with anticipation for the graduation ceremony. Throwing their caps in the air are Ellie (Stacey Farber), Craig, Alex, Marco (Adamo Ruggiero), Paige and Hazel (Andrea Lewis). Returning to Degrassi for the final episode are the characters Craig, who was recording a record in Vancouver, and Ashley, who was taking time off in London, England.    
                                       

The flagship series for American cable network The N, Degrassi: The Next Generation ranks Number One with teens in its time period among all broadcasts on cable television in the United States. The series is now seen in over 70 countries around the world.
 
Enthusiasm for Degrassi on both sides of the border continues with the October 2006 release of Degrassi: Extra Credit, a series of graphic fiction novels expanding on Degrassi: The Next Generation plot elements. Weaving new adventures, challenges and life experiences, the dynamic visuals take Degrassi fans beyond the school and deep into the characters' lives. Degrassi: Extra Credit follows other successes including the compilation CD, Songs From Degrassi: The Next Generation, featuring music from Canadian artists such as Sam Roberts and Buck 65.
 
This season marks the Degrassi franchise's 25th Anniversary and in addition to the compilation CD, other anniversary memorabilia available includes Degrassi: Generations, an illustrated history and the "Official 411" of the franchise, and a Degrassi: The Next Generation student planner.
 
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. Kathleen Meek is the CTV production executive working with the series. Bill Mustos is Senior Vice-President, Dramatic Programming for CTV. Susanne Boyce is President of CTV Programming and Chair of the Media Group. 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: The Next Generation. Previous shows produced for the Degrassi franchise include: The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High, which still air throughout the world. Epitome Pictures also produces Instant Star, the Gemini Award winning series that is now seen in over 121 countries. Epitome Pictures also produced Liberty Street and Riverdale in addition to several MOWs. For more information, please visit www.epitomepictures.com.
 
CTV, Canada's largest private broadcaster, offers a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming. It has the number-one national newscast, CTV National 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 Web site at www.ctv.ca.
 

*Source: Nielsen Media Research, 2005-06 vs. 2004-05 (Weeks 4-19)
**Source: All ratings courtesy of Nielsen Media Research.

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