‘Blue’s Clues’ host brings back nostalgia almost 20 years later


PatrickRich | flickr

Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

Social media was brought to tears on Sept. 7 when Steve Burns, the original host of Nickelodeon’s hit children’s show “Blue’s Clues,” appeared in a video for the show’s 25th anniversary explaining why he chose to leave 20 years ago.

Children of the ‘90s may remember the day when Burns, who was host from 1996-2002, packed up his belongings and said goodbye to viewers, passing his “handy-dandy notebook” and problem-solving duties to his brother Joe, played by Donovan Patton.

“I just kinda got up and went to college. And that was really challenging by the way, but great because I got to use my mind and take a step at a time and now, I literally am doing many of the things that I wanted to do,” Burns said in the video.

In addition to his explanation as to why he left, Burns took the time in video to provide closure to his fans who were speculating about his departure.

“I wanted to tell you that I really couldn’t have done all of that without your help. And in fact, all the help that you helped me with when we were younger is still helping me today, right now. And that’s super cool. I guess I just wanted to say that after all these years, I never forgot you. Ever. And I’m super glad we’re still friends,” Burns said.

His sudden reappearance hit home for many viewers, raising nostalgic feelings and childhood comfort. The video trended along on Twitter along with the hashtag, #BluesClues25.

“Seeing #BluesClues25 trending makes me happy. Growing up with parents who are an interracial couple, I remember being so emotionally invested in salt & pepper (while genders reversed for my home) I was so excited that I was their paprika. Paprika is still a nickname used today,” a Twitter user wrote.

Burns’ success as a host earned him a nomination for a Daytime Emmy award in 2001. According to The New York Times, “Blue’s Clues” drew in more than 14 million viewers each week during its run.

Over the years, Burns has spoken about interactions with fans and his relationship to the program, which he hosted during his 20s. “Kids thought I was their friend for real,” Burns said in a 2010 live performance for The Moth.

Burns’ departure from the show led to rumors spreading among fans, to the point that Mr. Burns’s Instagram handle, @steveburnsalive, appeared to refute rumors of his death.

He spoke to the Huffington Post in 2016 and said he knew when it was time to leave the show. The original host felt that he would become sort of a relic of the past had he stayed on the show longer than he did.

“I left the show because it was just simply time to go. I was pretty much playing a boyish, older- brotherish kind of character on the show,” Burns said. “I was getting older; I was losing my hair; a lot of the original gangsters on the show, like the people who created it, were all moving on to other careers. It just felt like time. I just had a gut feeling like it was time to go.”

Over 17 million people were touched by seeing the original “Blue’s Clues” host on their screens. Just as he said that he never forgot about his fans and their friendship, the multi-million viewership proves that the feeling was mutual.