Some of the old Riverdale cast members that made their way over to Degrassi Street:


Left to right: Kristen Holden-Reid (Tracker Cameron), Jayne Eastwood (Mrs. Cameron), Mellisa Dimarco (Principal Daphne Hatzilakos), Jennifer Podemski (Ms. Sauve), Tom Melissis (Mr. Perino) Jeff in Degrassi Junior High


OTTAWA, February 1, 2000   CNW

Riverdale, Canada's first successful prime-time soap opera, has been cancelled.

“We had a dream,” said Linda Schuyler, President of Epitome Pictures Inc., “A dream that Canada would have its own prime-time soap opera, like every other country in the world outside North America.  That dream has ended.”

Riverdale's creators prided themselves on ensuring that the soap was as culturally and ethnically diverse as Canada itself, featuring three generations of Canadians from different walks of life, social strata and religions in the storylines.  Through reflecting those real Canadian experiences back to everyday Canadians, Riverdale created an intensely loyal fan base of nearly 700,000 viewers per week.  Approximately half of those viewers were in the 18-49 year-old demographic coveted by advertisers.

“Every other country in the world has soap operas which reflect their local lifestyles as a staple of their prime-time schedules.” said Schuyler.  “The key to soap operas is that they cost much less than conventional high-end drama, but have an intense appeal to their audiences.''

The production costs of Riverdale were approximately half that of a

high-end drama such as Da Vinci's Inquest or Cold Squad.  “In these days of financial restraint we were convinced that an appealing soap opera, costing much less than other drama shows, would make excellent fiscal sense for the Canadian broadcasting system,” said Riverdale Executive Producer Stephen Stohn.  “Apparently we were wrong.”

The loss will also be felt by local production personnel.  “I am proud to say that our show is 100% Canadian,” said Supervising Producer Sari Friedland.  “Riverdale employed a completely Canadian staff, including writers, cast and crew.”  At the time of cancellation Riverdale had options on 26 Canadian performers in anticipation of another season.  “Fully Canadian productions like ours are getting harder and harder to do as the rate of industrial and service production quickly overtakes domestic production,” continued Friedland.

“We are extremely proud of everyone involved in Riverdale,” concluded Schuyler.  “The dream may have ended, but nothing can take away from us our pride in our cast, creators, writers, crew and supporters-and the determined effort they all made to change the way Canadians see themselves on television.”

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