As Nickelodeon looks to revive its fortunes, the network is turning to a colorful page in its handy-dandy notebook, bringing back Blue’s Clues in a 20-episode order.
The animated preschool classic, which features a live-action host, will have what the network calls a “refreshed signature look.” An open casting call for the high-profile host role will be held in Southern California on April 14, the network said. Production on the reboot will start this summer.
The return of Blue’s Clues will be touted during Nickelodeon’s annual upfront presentation to media buyers this evening in New York. The network said it plans 800 hours of programming across platforms in 2018, up 20% from last year. Like other networks at Viacom and elsewhere, Nick has seen ratings erode as viewers choose entertainment alternatives.
In its 1990s-2000s prime, Blue’s Clues disrupted the longstanding dominance of Sesame Street by offering a potent alternative to the public TV classic’s “magazine format.” Episodes of Blue’s, by contrast, told a single story over each half hour, enhancing the educational value of the show’s message by having Blue the puppy and her human owner (Steve and Joe, depending on the era) directly address the viewer. Writer Malcolm Gladwell featured the interactive approach of the show, which was created by Traci Paige Johnson, Todd Kessler and Angela C. Santomero, in his megaselling book The Tipping Point.
“With Blue’s Clues, Nickelodeon launched what became TV’s first generation of interactivity for preschoolers and set the bar for quality, curriculum-driven shows we have made since,” said Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon Group. “The new, modern version of Blue’s Clues will capture all the original’s creativity and visual identity for a whole new audience ready for its fun adventures and expertly designed problem-solving curriculum.”
The design of the new show will be consistent with the original, which remains available on Nickelodeon’s subscription video service Noggin. Short-form Blue’s content is also on the Nick Jr. app and website.