Story at a glance:
- "Arthur" is coming to an end by 2022.
- The glasses-wearing, yellow-sweatered aardvark and his friends have been a childhood touchstone since the show first aired 1996.
- PBS Kids will continue to air reruns of the show.
"Arthur," the hit PBS Kids animated program from the 1990s that taught children social learning and inclusion, is coming to an end by 2022.
The show, based on author Marc Brown’s 1976 children’s books with the same title, will have its 25th and final season next year, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
In addition to the books, the adventures and slice-of-life stories from the glasses-wearing, yellow-sweatered aardvark and his friends has been a childhood touchstone since the show first aired 1996.
The series was known for its lessons on kindness, empathy and inclusion.
In the 22nd season premiere, the character Mr. Ratburn comes out as gay and marries to another character on the show. Arthur and his friends mistakenly believe that Mr. Ratburn will marry a different, more abrasive character voiced by actress Jane Lynch. The kids tell Mr. Ratburn that he deserves “to be with someone who is nice, kind, fun to be with — someone who likes him just the way he is.” They’re then surprised and happy when they see Mr. Ratburn is marrying another character.
In addition to introducing a gay character and marriage, the TV show also aired public service announcements on racial inequality and wearing a mask.
Longtime writer of the show Kathy Waugh was a guest on the "Finding DW" podcast, an unofficial podcast created by one of the former child actors. She said the animated series is no longer in production, saying the wrap party took place two years ago.
“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,” Waugh said. “I don’t know if it was a ratings issue or if it felt like it needed to be retired.”
PBS Kids will continue to air reruns of the show, according to Executive Producer Carol Greenwald.
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