The “Blue’s Clues” franchise has delighted viewers of all ages since 1996. Blue, an energetic blue dog, and her owner, Steve, played by Steve Burns, star in the live-action and animated children’s television show, which premiered on Nickelodeon.
The original series aired until 2006, and the reboot “Blue’s Clues & You!” debuted in 2019 with a new host, Josh, played by Josh Dela Cruz.
However, this was not the first time the franchise’s hosts had changed. Steve left the show in 2002, and was replaced by Joe, played by Donovan Patton, for the remainder of the original series.
Fans have been wondering why Steve left “Blue’s Clues” for many years, and after nearly 20 years, Burns has addressed his unexpected departure from the show.
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What caused Steve to leave ‘Blue’s Clues’?
On September 7, 2021, a video with the caption “So about that time Steve went off to college…” was posted to Nick Jr.’s official Twitter account. The video debuted ahead of the 25th anniversary of “Blue’s Clues.”
In the video, then-47-year-old Steve Burns discusses his departure from the children’s television show, stating that he – or his character – chose to attend college. There were rumours about why Burns left before this video, such as that he joined the military or died in a car accident.
“Remember how we used to run around and hang out with Blue and find clues and talk to Mr. Salt and freak out about the mail and do all the fun stuff when we were younger?”
According to Burns in the video. “And then I was like, ‘Oh hey, guess what? I’m leaving, big news. ‘This is my brother Joe, your new best friend,’ And then I got on a bus and left, and we hadn’t seen each other in a long time? Could we just talk about it? Because I realise I was a little abrupt.
“I just sort of got up and went to college. And, by the way, that was really difficult, but great because I got to use my mind and take it one step at a time, and now I literally am doing many of the things that I wanted to do.”
Burns hosted the show from its inception in 1996 until 2002, when he was succeeded by Donovan Patton, who played Steve’s younger brother “Joe.”
Burns was even nominated for a daytime Emmy while hosting “Blue’s Clues” in 2001.
While Burns’ character left the show for academic reasons, the actor began pursuing music and maturing.
Burns was approaching 30 when he left the show in 2002, and he was aware that his hairline was receding.
“I knew I wasn’t going to do children’s television my entire life, mostly because I refused to lose my hair on a kid’s TV show,” Burns explained in a 2006 interview for a Nick Jr. special.
As the show navigated diverse topics through the use of problem solving, positive reinforcement, and prosocial messages, Burns’ character became a constant for many young children and active viewers.
Burns ended his message with the same optimism and care he displayed on “Blue’s Clues”: “You look great, by the way. Whatever you’re doing is effective.”