By Josiah Martin | Staff Writer
After more than a decade off the air, Nickelodeon’s acclaimed children’s series Blue’s Clues is returning for a 20-episode season in the near future.
Nickelodeon provided details of the reboot in a press release on March 6, in which the company states that the new episodes will feature a “refreshed signature look.” The release was accompanied by a photo of the show’s protagonist, Blue, redesigned in a three-dimensional style.
The show traditionally featured a live action host against an animated setting and supporting cast. The host would solve problems with the help of paw print clues from Blue. Steve Burns hosted from 1996 to 2002, and Donovan Patton hosted as Steve’s brother Joe from 2002 to the series’ end in 2006. Nickelodeon has announced an open casting call to find a host for the new iteration of the series.
Following last week’s announcement, all time slots for the casting call have already been filled. As a result, the event’s website has since added a link for submission of video auditions.
The casting call will take place on April 14 in Burbank, California. Both Burns and Patton were white and male, but the new iteration of the series may see a break from this pattern. The public description of the casting call asks for “females and males who can play 18-25 years old, all ethnicities.”
The casting call also asks for those auditioning to have “a natural connection with the camera and will empower the home viewer to feel important, respected and smart.”
Interactivity was an integral part of the original series, where young viewers were encouraged to respond to questions asked by the host and play a perceived active role in solving on-screen problems. It appears that Nickelodeon intends to carry this aspect of the show into its new generation.
“Preschoolers are encouraged to interact with the action on-screen by answering questions, pointing out clues, jumping on their feet and playing along,” according to the press release.
The script to be read by auditioning actors features the host solving an episode’s problem by using the visual clues provided by Blue, while leaving pauses for input from the home audience and speaking directly to the camera. This is consistent with the concept for the original series.
Aside from redesign of the main character, it is yet unclear how the series will differ from the original. Within the press release, the new episodes are referred to only as a “remake,” and Cyma Zarghami, president of Nickelodeon Group, refers to them as the “new, modern version of Blue’s Clues.”
In the original series, creator Traci Paige Johnson also provided the voice of Blue. Nick Balaban voiced Mr. Salt and composed much of the show’s iconic music, alongside Michael Rubin. It is unclear if these or any former cast and crew will be returning for the new series.
Production on the series is set to begin in the summer. The press release promises that the show “will have a new generation of preschoolers searching for clues.”