The PBS animated educational show "Arthur," featuring an inquisitive 8-year-old aardvark and his family, quietly ended production two years ago although some produced episodes have yet to air. Its upcoming 25th season will be its last. Premiering in 1996, the show is the longest-running children’s animated series in the history of American television.
After screenwriter Kathy Waugh, who helped develop the series based on Marc Brown's children's books, said on a podcast on July 13 that "Arthur" was ending, the show's executive producer released a statement Tuesday after the news belatedly gained public attention.
"In the winter of 2022, the 25th and final season of 'Arthur' will debut," executive producer Carol Greenwald said in a statement. " 'Arthur' will continue to be available on [the daytime programming block] PBS Kids for years to come." PBS and the show's originating station, Boston's WGBH, "are continuing to work together on additional Arthur content, sharing the lessons of Arthur and his friends in new ways."
On the podcast "Finding D.W.," hosted by Jason Szwimer, one of the actors who voiced Arthur's little sister Dora Winifred "D.W." Read, Waugh revealed, " 'Arthur' is no longer in production. We had our wrap party two years ago." She added, "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."
Waugh said she was unaware "if it was a ratings issue or if it just felt like it needed to be retired. To me, it just felt evergreen, like it was never going to end, but it did end. We finished the last episode, season 25. … However, PBS — and I wrote a couple of the scripts — decided to do some PSAs [public-service announcements] on various issues like voting, like hand-washing, pandemic-related issues, and I used the 'Arthur' characters. So they're still around. As far as I understand, not all the shows have aired. … But they've all been produced."
According to the producers' filing with the Library of Congress' Copyright Royalty Board for the music used on the show, there are at least four two-segment episodes set for season 25: "Binky Wrestles with a Story/All Will Be Revealed," "Making Conversation/A Cloudy Day," "Listen Up/Arthur's New Old Vacation" and "Blabbermouth/All Grown Up."
No airdates are attached, and claims at fan sites, IMDb and Wikipedia of airdates this October are at odds with executive producer Greenwald indicating winter 2022.
WGBH additionally announced a new one-hour special on Sept. 6, "Arthur's First Day," in which the youngster moves on to fourth grade and D.W. to kindergarten.