The show, based upon Marc Brown’s children’s books, first aired in 1996. The series followed Arthur and his family, which included his sassy little sister DW, and friends like Buster and Francine. Arthur, an anthropomorphic aardvark, and his crew of unusual animals went adventure after adventure teaching children important life lessons in kindness, understanding and empathy.
Arthur’s character became a public figure, making appearances at the popular Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade and children’s birthday parties across the country.
In 2019, one groundbreaking and inclusive episode featured LGBTQ+ characters getting married. The show featured a same-sex wedding with the show’s teacher Mr. Ratburn marrying a man. The controversial episode caused various discussions across the country and particularly, local networks which refused to air it.
The show’s original developer, Kathy Waugh, shared the news on the the podcast Finding DW that the classic show is no longer in production.
“We had our wrap party two years ago,” Waugh shared on the podcast. “I think [PBS] made a mistake, and I think ‘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 [of] Season 25 two years ago.”
Arthur received viral traction in recent years thanks to the millennials who grew up enjoying the PBS cartoon as children. Countless scenes became viral Internet memes like Arthur’s infamous clenched fist.
Fans are saddened by the show’s cancellation, expressing their heartbreak online.
Some believe fans of the show are a bit too old to be upset about the series cancellation.
Though the show has halted production, fans should remain optimistic. There may be other sorts of Arthur-like content on the horizon. Variety reported that reruns will still air while the network explores other options and storylines.
The final season is set to debut in the winter of 2022.