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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 25: (L-R) Steve Burns, Joshua Dela Cruz and Donovan Patton ride the Blues Clues float 95 And Marching On! Macy's Parade® Thanksgiving Day ushers in the Holiday Season on November 25, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy's Inc.)

The popularity of  Blue’s Clues even surprised former host, Steve Burns. And it may be one of the most successful children’s shows of all time. However, it’s not something Steve would have ever predicted.

Blue’s Clues first premiered on Nickelodeon in 1996. Burns served as the original host of the series until 2002, when Donovan Patton replaced him as Joe. The series continued with Patton until 2006, though it was revived as Blue’s Clues & You! in 2019 with new host Josh Dela Cruz.

Both Burns and Patton make special appearances in Blue’s Clues & You! and all three hosts united for the Paramount+ movie Blue’s Big City Adventure. It’s part of the franchise’s ongoing success, which has been monumental since the show’s debut in 1996. It’s been quite the journey for Burns, who’s reflecting on the origins of Blue’s Clues in a new interview with People. He recalls how he personally liked the idea of the show, but at the same time, he had serious doubts that the show’s premise would work.

Blue’s Clues was different from other children’s programming at the time, as it featured a human interacting with animated characters. Filming the series this way meant having Burns spend hours in front of a camera with a green screen behind him. Burns noted how the series became No. 1 despite its unusual premise and observed how filming the big show always felt “very small” to him.

Burns said, “I didn’t think it would work at all. I thought it was simply too strange and too breakthrough, and I didn’t think the kids would talk back to the TV screen. I doubted it. I was skeptical that they would work. I liked that it was kind of the Rocky Horror Children’s Show,” says Burns in a recent PEOPLE interview.

The series was revived as Blue’s Clues & You! in 2019 with new host Josh Dela Cruz.

Do you remember the children’s shows you loved?

  • Kukla, Fran and Ollie

    Kukla, Fran and Ollie was created for children, but was soon watched by more adults than children. It didn’t have a script and was entirely ad-libbed. It was broadcast from Chicago between October 13, 1947 and August 30, 1957. Comedienne Fran Allison starred, and interacted with puppets, Kukla and Ollie (and sometimes other puppets) whose puppeteer was the show’s creator, Burr Tillstrom.

    Kukla, Fran and Ollie’s humor relied on building a relationship between its characters and the audience over time. The humor was very tame by the standards of later comedy, and today. There were a few laugh-out-loud joke, and KFO relied on the humor of familiarity. It evoked loyalty, and a deep belief in its characters from regular viewers. Fans became so attached to the show that, when it was cut back to 15 minutes in November 1951, letters of outrage poured into NBC.

    Vintage NBC TV Studio

    (Photo by Keystone Features via Getty Images)


  • The Howdy Doody Show

    The Howdy Doody Show had a circus and western theme. It was created and produced by Victor F Campbell and E. Roger Muir. It was broadcast on NBC from December 27, 1947, until September 24, 1960. It was a pioneer of children’s programming and set the pattern for many similar shows. It was one of the first television series produced at NBC in Rockefeller Center, in Studio 3A. It pioneered color production in 1956 and NBC (then owned by RCA Television) used the show to promote color television sets in the late 1950s!

    Howdy Doody Time

    (Photo by Ethan Miller via Getty Images)

  • Captain Kangaroo

    Captain Kangaroo aired each weekday morning on CBS for 29 years, from 1955 to 1984, making it the longest-running nationally broadcast children’s television program of its day.

    The show was conceived by Bob Keeshan, who also played the title character “Captain Kangaroo”, and who based the show on “the warm relationship between grandparents and their children.” Keeshan  portrayed the original Clarabell the Clown on NBC’s The Howdy Doody Show during the network’s early years.

    Captain Kangaroo had a loose structure. The name “kangaroo” came from the big pockets in Captain’s coat. He would tell stories, meet guests, and do silly stunts with regular characters, both humans and puppets. 

    Old CBS TV Studio

    (Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)


  • Sesame Street

    Sesame Street combined live-action, sketch comedy, animation and puppetry. It is produced by Sesame Workshop (known as the Children’s Television Workshop until June 2000) and was created by Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett. It is known for  communicating through the use of Jim Henson‘s Muppets, and includes short films, with humor and cultural references. It premiered on November 10, 1969, to positive reviews, some controversy,  and high viewership. It has aired on the national  PBS since its debut, with its first run moving to  HBO in 2016, then  HBO Max in 2020. Sesame Street is one of the longest-running shows in the world.

    Sesame Street was the first children’s TV show to use educational goals and a curriculum to shape its content, and the first show whose educational effects were formally studied. Its format and content have undergone significant changes to reflect changes to its curriculum.

    Sesame Street was not without its critics and detractors. however. The state commission in Mississippi – where Jim Henson was from – operated the state’s PBS member station. In 1970 it voted to not air Sesame Street because of its “highly [racially] integrated cast of children” which “the commission members felt … Mississippi was not yet ready for.”

    Sesame Street Cast

    (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz via Getty Images)

  • The Electric Company

    The Electric Company It was co-created by Paul Dooley, Joan Ganz Cooney, and Lloyd Morrisett. The series aired on PBS for 780 episodes over the course of its six seasons from October 25, 1971, to April 15, 1977. The program continued in reruns until October 4, 1985.

    The Electric Company used sketch comedy and various other devices to create entertaining program to help elementary school children develop their grammar and reading skills. Since it was intended for children who had “graduated” from Sesame Street, the humor was more mature than what was seen there.

    The original cast included Morgan FreemanRita MorenoBill CosbyJudy GraubartLee Chamberlin and Skip Hinnant. Most of the cast had done stage, repertory, and improvisational work, with Cosby and Moreno already well-established performers on film and television.

    The Electric Company TV Show

    (Photo by Frederick M. Brown via Getty Images)

  • Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

    Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood ran from 1968 to 2001.The series is aimed primarily at preschool children ages 2 to 5, but it was labelled by PBS as “appropriate for all ages.”

    During each half-hour segment, Rogers spoke directly to the viewer about various topics, taking the viewer on tours of factories, demonstrating experiments, crafts, and music, and interacting with his friends. Rogers also made a point to simply behave naturally on camera rather than acting out a character, stating that “One of the greatest gifts you can give anybody is the gift of your honest self. I also believe that kids can spot a phony a mile away.”

    Mister Rogers Neighborhood

    (Photo by Family Communications Inc./Getty Images)

  • Barney & Friends

    Barney & Friends premiered on PBS on April 6, 1992. It featured Barney, a purple Tyrannosaurus rex who conveys educational messages through songs and small dance routines with a friendly, huggable and optimistic attitude.

    People had a love/hate relationship with Barney because of his infectious “I love you, you love me” song. The anti-Barney phenomenon is highlighted in the Peacock documentary I Love You, You Hate Me. Barney has also received much praise from parents for being a wholesome yet engaging show for children that delves into common, kid-friendly topics.

    Barney And Friends

    (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)

  • Dora the Explorer

    Dora the Explorer show focuses on the adventures of a seven year old Latin American girl named Dora. Dora loves embarking on different quests related to an activity that she wants to enjoy, or a place that she wants to go to, accompanied by her talking purple backpack and  monkey companion named Boots (named for his beloved pair of red boots).

    Each episode is based around a series of cyclical events that occur along the way during Dora’s travels, along with obstacles that she and Boots are forced to overcome or puzzles that they have to solve. The show is presented in the style of both an interactive CD-ROM game and a point-and-click adventure game, with gimmicks like title cards appearing in windows, and Dora asking the viewer to help her by showing the items in her inventory and asking the viewer which one is best for the current scenario.

    (Photo by Michael Loccisano via Getty Images)