PBS cancels ‘Arthur’ after 25 seasons
The reason for the show’s cancellation has not been revealed. but executive producer Carol Greenwald says the show will continue to air on PBS Kids.
Executive producer Carol Greenwald confirmed the show’s cancellation in a statement obtained by USA TODAY.
“ ‘Arthur’ is the longest-running kids’ animated series in history and is known for teaching kindness, empathy and inclusion through many groundbreaking moments to generations of viewers,” Greenwald said in the statement. “In the winter of 2022, the 25th and final season of ‘Arthur’ will debut. ‘Arthur’ will continue to be available on PBS KIDS for years to come.”
Earlier this month, Kathy Waugh, who worked as a writer on “Arthur,” revealed during an appearance on the podcast “Finding D.W.” that the show, which centers on a young aardvark and his family and friends, completed production in 2019.
“ ‘Arthur’ is no longer in production,” Waugh told the podcast’s host, Jason Szwimer. “We had our wrap party two years ago. I think they’ve made a mistake.”
Waugh said the reason for the show’s cancellation remains unclear.
“I don’t pay attention that much to things like ratings, so I don’t know if it was a ratings issue or if it just felt like it needed to be retired,” Waugh said. “To me, it felt like evergreen, like it was never going to end, but it did end.”
Erin Callanan, director of media relations for GBH (the show’s producer that was formerly known as WGBH), said that despite the cancellation of “Arthur,” additional content related to the show will continue to be “shared on a variety of platforms going forward.”
Waugh said a couple of scripts featuring “Arthur” characters have been written for PSAs on such topics as voting and hand-washing.
“Arthur” debuted on television in October 1996 and is based on the Arthur Adventure book series, written and illustrated by Marc Brown. The series, which revolves around the life of Arthur Read, an 8-year-old anthropomorphic aardvark, made its literary debut in 1976 with the publication of “Arthur’s Nose.”
The television series became known for portraying modern social issues in children’s television, such as diabetes awareness and gay marriage. Waugh said the show’s realism and diverse subject matter placed it in a league of its own.
“The best kids’ television, and Arthur is absolutely at the apex of that particular genre, expands a child’s life, reflects a child’s life, makes children of all shapes and sizes feel seen,” Waugh said. “(It makes them) feel that their bad feelings, their mad feelings, their hurt – all of that is allowable. It shapes how you see the world, and it shapes how you see yourself in the world.”
“Arthur” has aired more than 200 episodes, winning four Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Children’s Animated Program over the course of the series’ run. In addition to the show’s upcoming 25th season, a one-hour back-to-school special, “Arthur’s First Day,” will premiere Sept. 6.