‘Arthur’ Is Ending After 25 Years
These beautiful days in a neighborhood where aardvarks, rabbits and other animals go to school, learn about life and play come to an end.
“Arthur,” the beloved and educational children’s show, is coming to an end after 25 years, PBS confirmed on Wednesday. The show’s final season will air in winter 2022.
The show, based on a series of children’s books called “The Adventures of Arthur” by Marc Brown, ended production almost two years ago, according to one of the show’s writers, Kathy Waugh. In an episode airing this month of “Finding DW”, a podcast on the series, she said the team had disbanded.
“‘Arthur’ is no longer in production,” she told Jason Szwimer, the podcast’s host. “We organized our closing party two years ago.
An executive producer of the show, Carol Greenwald, confirmed on Wednesday that the series will end. She said in a statement that the episodes of the show would continue to be available on PBS Kids, but no news would air after next year.
“‘Arthur’ is the longest-running children’s animated series in history and is known for teaching kindness, empathy and inclusion through many groundbreaking moments to generations of viewers,” said Ms. Greenwald.
The statement did not provide a reason for the show’s cancellation. Ms. Greenwald said producer GBH and PBS Kids “continue to work together on additional Arthur content, sharing lessons from Arthur and his friends in new ways.”
On the podcast, Ms Waugh said she was unsure whether the cancellation was due to an audience issue or whether PBS simply believed the show should be taken down. She added that she thought PBS had made a mistake. “To me, it always felt green, like it was never going to end. But it ended, ”she said.
Over its more than two-decade run, “Arthur” has won a lasting following and a number of awards, including several Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Children’s Entertainment Program, as well as a Peabody Award.
The show first aired on PBS in 1996 and for a time ranked as the most popular TV show for children ages 2-11. In the series as in the books, Arthur (an aardvark in third grade), his friends (a variety of other anthropomorphized animals), and their teachers and families go on adventures, learning lessons about everything including friendship, the school work, public libraries and loss.
Ziggy Marley, the son of Bob Marley, performed the theme song – itself about empathy and confidence in oneself and in others.
Available to a wide audience on public television, “Arthur” was the rare children’s series that drew fans among children and their parents. The main character, Arthur, had an “Everyman” quality that made him so easy to understand, Ms. Waugh said on the podcast.
“The best children’s television – and ‘Arthur’ is absolutely on top of that particular genre – expands a child’s life, reflects the life of a child, and makes children of all shapes and sizes feel seen,” Ms Waugh said.
She added that “Arthur”, unlike many children’s shows that have survived, faced not only the experiences of the playground and the classroom, but also difficult realities like bullying, fear of death and cancer.
The tone of the show reflected that, she said. To be constantly cheerful or twittering, she said, would have been “a disservice to the children.”
Ms Waugh said the show validates children’s “bad feelings, their crazy feelings, their hurts” and seeks to help children grow up and shape their world.
News of the show’s cancellation sparked mourning on social media, reflecting the show’s popularity across generations. Senator Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, tweeted, “Thank you Arthur for helping us all learn to work, play and get along with each other. “
And scattered among the messages lamenting the cancellation were memes inspired by his still relevant images: one showed Arthur clenching his fist in frustration, another showed his sister, DW, holding and looking through a chain-link fence, sunglasses but still expressing sadness.