It's the end of an era for children's TV, because PBS has canceled Arthur. On Tuesday, the network confirmed the end is nigh for the beloved children's show, which is based on the character created by Marc Brown for the 1976 book Arthur's Nose. Set to conclude in winter 2022, Arthur will leave the airwaves as the longest-running children's animated series in the history of American television, lasting 25 seasons and nearly 250 episodes to date.
In an emailed statement to IGN, Arthur executive producer Carol Greenwald confirmed the news, sharing that "in the winter of 2022, the 25th and final season of Arthur will debut." Greenwald said that while the series is ending, "Arthur will continue to be available on PBS KIDS for years to come" and "producer GBH and PBS KIDS are continuing to work together on additional Arthur content, sharing the lessons of Arthur and his friends in new ways."
The cancellation news came just hours after Kathy Waugh, who originally developed the show from the books by Marc Brown, said that the series was "no longer in production." In an interview on the Finding DW podcast with Jason Szwimer, Waugh said the crew "had our wrap party two years ago." Waugh said she believed PBS "made a mistake" in ending the iconic series and believes "Arthur should come back and I know I'm not alone in thinking they made a mistake. I don't know if it was a ratings issue or if it felt like it needed to be retired. To me, it felt evergreen, like it was never going to end but it did end, we finished the last episode, Season 25, two years ago."
Her remarks came after voice actor Bruce Dinsmore tweeted in November 2018 that he had recorded his last episodes of the series, though there was no confirmation of the show's cancellation until Tuesday. At this time, a reason for the cancellation has not been given, though the news comes just months after PBS in January canceled Calliou after a more than 20-year run.
Based on the Arthur Adventure book series written and illustrated by Brown, Arthur premiered in October of 1996. The animated series centers on Arthur, a young aardvark, and the lessons he learns alongside his family and friends Buster, Francine, Muffy, Binky, and Brain. The series has also examined numerous social issues, such as a 2019 episode in which third-grade teacher Mr. Ratburn married his partner Patrick. Throughout its more than 20-year run, Arthur has won four Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Children's Animated Program along with a Peabody Award.