Arthur is coming to an end after 25 seasons of airing on television. Based on the Arthur Adventure book series by Marc Brown, Arthur was developed as an animated series by Kathy Waugh. Airing its first episode in 1996, the series has been around for 25 years, airing nearly 250 overall episodes by its 25th season. The acclaimed cartoon has won four Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Children's Animated Program with 17 total nominations.
In a recent interview on the Finding D.W. podcast, Waugh was asked about the status of Arthur. The series had previously been renewed through season 25, but PBS quietly canceled the series by opting not to move forward with a 26th season, so the cast and crew held a wrap party and moved on. Per the YouTube channel Vailskibum94, here's what Waugh had to say about what happened to Arthur.
"Arthur is no longer in production --- we had our wrap party two years ago. I think they've made a mistake, PBS, and I think Arthur should come back. And I know I'm not alone in thinking they made a mistake. I don't know, I don't pay attention to things like ratings, so I don't know if it was a ratings issue, or if they felt like it needed to be retired. So, to me, it just felt like evergreen, like it was never going to end. But, it did end. We finished the last episode [with] season 25."
Arthur is set in Elwood City and follows 8-year-old anthropomorphic aardvark Arthur Read along with his friends and family. It has been commended for addressing the real-life issues that many families face including asthma, cancer, diabetes, and autism spectrum disorder. Various voice actors have voiced the main cast members over the years though the art style and feel of the series has largely always been the same.
It might be the end of the road for Arthur, but fans of the series will still have 25 seasons worth of material to enjoy. The show's long run also makes it the longest-running children's animated series in the United States. It is also the second-longest running animated series in the U.S. behind only The Simpsons, though shows like South Park and Family Guy are quickly closing that gap. When it comes to children's animated programming, however, Arthur may remain king for some time to come.
This is also not the only cartoon to have recently been put out to pasture by PBS. In January, it was reported that PBS Kids had canceled Caillou after 20 years on the air. That was a show that many parents had openly celebrated getting the boot and people were making that clear with their reactions on social media. Arthur, by contrast, seems to have more fans of all ages, and this news is not quite as well received.
If there were ever a time for Arthur fans to use the famous Arthur's Fist meme, this seems to be it. You can listen to more of the interview with series developer Kathy Waugh on the Finding D.W. podcast.