- Associated Press - Thursday, July 15, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - We know how the students of Degrassi High are spending their summer vacation: Working!

The show’s tenth season debuts Monday on Teen Nick, with new episodes airing Monday to Thursday. On Fridays, the network will air a marathon of that week’s episodes.

Teen Nick decided that given the popularity of the teen drama about students attending high school in Toronto, it would be the perfect model to try out a telenovela or soap opera style format.

“(It) allows you to spend more time with all the characters. We think fans are gonna go crazy for it,” said Marjorie Cohn, Nickelodeon’s president of original programming and development.

The cast and crew were intimidated at first when they heard their series order had doubled from 24 episodes to 48, Cohn said.

“They were kind of excited but they needed to think about it,” she said. “Once they were sure the quality wouldn’t change and that it would be an opportunity I think they really got into it.”

One perk is there’s freedom in the extra time. Conflicts no longer have to be wrapped up within a half hour and different characters’ perspectives can be presented.

“It actually became quite liberating and exciting for my writing team when we realized these opportunities would open up for us,” said “Degrassi” creator and executive producer Linda Schuyler.

“We’re given a chance to kind of delve into our stories a little more deeply,” adds actress Charlotte Arnold, who plays Holly J.

Season 10 will continue tackling issues relevant to teens and will even introduce a transgender story line.

Four new cast members have been added, but new faces at Degrassi High are nothing new.

“There are no characters in the student body who were there in the first season. They’ve all graduated. The only continuity is with our faculty,” said Schuyler, who co-created the franchise in 1979. She said she believes viewers enjoy following the characters in real time.

The tenth season of “Degrassi” called “The Boiling Point” airs at 9 p.m. EDT.

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