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Steve From ‘Blue’s Clues’ Didn’t Give Us the Whole Story on Why He Left

Blue's Clues fans: Grab a box of tissues. We just got a letter, and we don't have to wonder who it's from. Watch Steve himself return with a sweet message for the show's 25th anniversary.
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Blue’s Clues fans who were watching the show in the late ’90s and early 2000s are going to need a box of tissues for this one. Something beautiful has happened, completely out of the blue.

I’m not sorry for the pun because I know now that Steve is proud of me and my puns. Steve believes in me, you, and all of us.

Remember Steve? Our best buddy who hosted the show for years before leaving us to go to college?

Well, we just got a letter from Steve himself, explaining the time he decided to bounce from Blue’s Clues in 2002 and left us in the care of his “brother,” Joe. Did any of us ever warm up to Joe? I don’t think so. It wasn’t his fault; the poor guy just had really big shoes to fill.

Steve’s Journey With ‘Blue’s Clues’

Courtesy of Nickelodeon

Blue’s Clues debuted in the United States on September 8, 1996, as the highest-rated premiere of any Nickelodeon program up to that point. The show soon became a staple of children’s educational programming and quickly rose to the top of the ratings charts.

Those ratings meant that every preschooler at the time knew Steve Burns, who was chosen as the main character of the show after producers noticed how strongly young audience members responded to him.

So why did Steve put away his notebook and say goodbye to a generation of young fans?

Producer Traci Paige Johnson told Spin in 2004 that what made Steve so special was that “he didn’t want to be a children’s host. Of the 100 people we auditioned, he was, by far, the realest. He loved kids, but he didn’t want to make a career out of it.”

So there you have it. As Steve alluded to in his video message, he wanted to do other things. But specifically, he did not want to spend the rest of his life hosting a kids’ show.

Steve’s exit from Blue’s Clues felt very sudden at the time. The abrupt “I’m going to college, bye,” from Steve rocked a lot of young people’s worlds. The sands of time washed away the pain, but the emotions come flooding back as soon as you see Steve–now an adult–enter the frame wearing his classic striped green shirt.

The 25th Anniversary Video

Nick Jr.’s Twitter account posted the video, which now has over 1.3 million likes, yesterday afternoon. The video came in celebration of today, September 8, 2021, which marks the 25th anniversary of the Blue’s Clues premiere.

Steve is now a 47-year-old actor, musician, producer, and director. He looks a little different, but his demeanor feels as familiar as it did 25 years ago.

In the clip, Steve speaks directly to his original audience, most of whom are all grown up. Steve talks in the same kind and gentle way that he did when we were little, but instead of talking about crafts or storybooks, he addresses the hardships of adult life. Student loans, college…it’s all a little tough sometimes, right guys?

But Steve reminds us that he couldn’t have finished college and chased his dreams without our help.

“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,” he says.

The Internet Responds

YouTube / Blue’s Clues & You! | Twitter / @nickjr

This is a beautiful moment for the internet, as grown-up fans of Blue’s Clues react to the sudden return of Steve that happened as randomly as his exit. The responses from fans across the country all express a similar sentiment: We needed this!

I suppose it makes sense now that Steve had to leave us. He was never meant to be a children’s TV host ’til the end of time; he was simply our friend. And we were never meant to watch Blue’s Clues forever, but to forge our own paths in life the same way that our best friend, Steve, clearly has.