Writer and show developer Kathy Waugh has revealed that Arthur is no longer in production. Its final episode, which PBS completed two years ago, will air in December of 2022. PBS has not provided a reason for canceling Arthur and seems to have intentionally withheld the bad news.
Arthur is the longest-running kids TV show of all time. It first aired in 1996 and has since become a staple of the PBS catalog. For that reason, news of Arthur’s cancellation comes as a bit of a surprise. And it wasn’t revealed by PBS—instead, it was announced by Kathy Waugh on the Finding DW podcast (a show that catalogs all the male voice actors who played Arthur’s little sister).
Evidently, Kathy Waugh felt the need to say something about Arthur’s cancellation, as she believes that the aardvark still has many stories to tell:
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, season 25 two years ago.
We don’t know why PBS withheld this announcement—maybe the network wasn’t entirely confident in its decision or wanted to save the flood of press for Arthur’s final season. Either way, it’s odd to learn that the show ended production in 2019, a year where it garnered a lot of positive attention for exploring the topic of gay marriage.
PBS Kids will continue to offer Arthur through reruns and streaming services. And while we won’t get any new episodes after December 2022, Arthur’s executive producer Carol Greenwald says that PBS will continue to publish “additional Arthur content,” though we aren’t really sure what that means.