Earlier today, the news broke that after 25 years, PBS's beloved animated series Arthur will end. The news broke during an interview with Kathy Waugh, a longtime Arthur writer who told Finding DW host Jason Szwimer, one of the original voices of DW, Arthur's sister (the podcast is about Szwimer's quest to connect with the other six actors who have voiced the character). The realization that the series was no longer in production seemingly took Szwimer aback, but many fans likely already knew it was coming since members of the cast had talked about the end of the show being on the horizon in the past.
First premiering on October 7, 1996, Arthur ran for a total 25 seasons over the years. PBS is currently airing episodes from the show's final season, which is expected to wrap later this year. The voice actors behind some of the show's biggest characters previously suggested the show was ending last fall, but today is the first official confirmation.
"In the winter of 2022, the 25th and final season of Arthur will debut. Arthur will continue to be available on PBS KIDS for years to come," Carol Greenwald, an executive producer for the series, told IGN. "Producer GBH and PBS KIDS are continuing to work together on additional Arthur content, sharing the lessons of Arthur and his friends in new ways."
Last year, the long-running series gained national media attention after Arthur's teacher Mr. Ratburn came out as gay. Some TV stations in conservative parts of the country refused to air the episode.
"What we are trying to do in the series is connect kids with other kids by reflecting their lives," Arthur creator Marc Brown said (via Out). "In some episodes, as in the Vermont one, we are validating children who are seldom validated. We believe that 'Postcards From Buster' does this in a very natural way -- and, as always, from the point of view of children."
Bespectacled aardvark Arthur Read demonstrates to kids how to deal with such childhood traumas and challenges as homework, teachers and bullies. He also has to contend with his sisters, but loves playing with his friends: tomboy Francine, foodie and best pal Buster, supersmart Brain, rich girl Muffy and geography expert Sue Ellen.