PBS Is Cancelling Its Longest Running Show

By Apeksha Bagchi | 2 months ago

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PBS’ Arthur, the longest-running children’s animated series in America which comes second after The Simpsons as the longest-running animated series in America, will be wrapping its tale of the 8-year-old beloved aardvark Arthur Read with its 25th season next year.  

Of late, rumors have been afloat that Arthur, which airs on PBS Kids, was going to end soon. It has now been confirmed that the fan-favorite show is set to reach its conclusion when its final season debuts in the winter of 2022. The series first debuted in 1996 and is based on Marc Brown’s Arthur Adventure book series. To date, the series has had over 240 episodes wherein the focus of the story has been Arthur Read, an anthropomorphic aardvark, living in the fictional Elwood City with his father, David, a chef, and mother, Jane who works as an accountant. He also has younger sisters, Dora Winifred and Kate as well as a dog named Pal. Every episode depicts Arthur’s interactions with his friends and family, the things he learns from them, how it shapes his thoughts, and helps in improving his perception. 

During its long run, the PBS show has covered a variety of topics like childhood fears, family issues, asthma, dyslexia, diabetes, autism spectrum disorder, and has taught its young audiences that every person is different from one another as they have varying likes, dislikes, and personalities. In the episode, “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone” of its 23rd season, the show even featured a same-sex wedding where Arthur’s teacher Mr. Ratburn married Patrick the chocolatier. 

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The news of Arthur ending its long was first revealed by Kathy Waugh, who adapted the books by Marc Brown to create the television series for PBS. In a chat with Jason Szwimer on the Finding DW Podcast, she had revealed that it has been a long time since Arthur has been in production as they had wrapped up the work on the last episode of its 25th season two years ago. She had stressed that PBS is making a mistake by not renewing the series and shared that she is not the only one associated with Arthur who is not in support of ending the series. 

Waugh further added that she is not aware of the reason behind the shocking cancellation. Maybe it is something related to the recent viewership ratings or perhaps the creators of the PBS show just feel that time has come for Arthur to retire, but according to Waugh the show is “evergreen.” She felt that because of its unique theme and plotlines, the series would never reach a conclusion but unfortunately, it is indeed finally ending. The show has received numerous accolades to date, including the George Foster Peabody Award, four Daytime Emmy Awards of the seventeen times it has been nominated, and a BAFTA. 

The news of Arthur’s cancellation has now been confirmed by Carol Greenwald, who is the executive producer of the show. While she didn’t provide a reason for concluding the show, she did acknowledge in her statement to Deadline that Arthur has been instrumental in teaching “kindness, empathy, and inclusion” throughout its long run of 25 years. She confirmed that in the winter of 2022, the 25th season of the series will debut and will be the final chapter in the story of Arthur. But apparently, this sudden cancellation doesn’t mean that there is no future for Arthur, as Greenwald has assured that not only will the show continue to be available on PBS Kids but also the network and the show’s producer GBH are working to create “additional Arthur content,” which will tell the story of its beloved lead in “new ways.”