Blue Clues’s first host, Steve Burns, gives people closure and we have feelings

It’s the 25th anniversary of the lovely Nickelodeon children’s show, Blues Clues. Steve Burns, now 47, hosted that adorable show from its start in 1996 until 2002. Steve was the only human in front of an animated background featuring a dog named Blue. Steve was so patient and seemingly interested in the audience. His character would pause, waiting for kids to answer his questions and help solve the puzzles. There was something so wholesome and engaging about that show. In 2002 Steve was replaced by Joe, played by Donovan Patton. Joe was decent and goofy, but he was no Steve and a lot of kids and moms felt Steve’s absence. Blue Clues ran with Joe as host up until 2006, when it ended. In 2018 it was rebooted as Blues Clues and You, with host Joshua Dela Cruz. Steve, who originally left the show because he felt he was getting too old for the character, is a producer on Blues Clues and You.

For the show’s 25th anniversary, Nickelodeon posted a video of Steve addressing the audience again and explaining why he left. You can see that above and here’s what he said:

“You remember how when we were younger, we used to run around and hang out with Blue and find clues and talk to Mr. Salt and freak out about the mail and do all the fun stuff, and then one day I was like, ‘Oh hey, guess what? Big news I’m leaving. This is my brother Joe, he’s your new best friend,’ and then I got on a bus, and I left, and we didn’t see each other for like a really long time. Can we just talk about that? Because I realize that was kind of abrupt.

“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.

“And then look at you, and look at all you have done, and all you have accomplished in all that time. And it’s just, it’s just so amazing, right?” Burns said in the video. “I mean, we started out with clues, and now, it’s what? Student loans, and jobs, and families? And some of it has been kind of hard, you know? I know you know.

“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.

“You look great, by the way. Whatever it is you’re doing is working.”


I watched Blues Clues with my son when he was a toddler. He will turn 17 in a couple of weeks and so we watched Steve’s episodes as reruns. Honestly I started writing this story a couple of days ago and I couldn’t finish it! (It was a hard week for many reasons, particularly the loss of Michael K. Williams.) When I first saw this video I absolutely lost it. It reminded me how fleeting childhood is, and how my son will leave the house in less than a year. I’m weepy as hell now just writing this. So many people who watched this show as children were hit equally hard by Steve’s sweet video. Many have said that they’re finally getting closure.

It has been kind of hard Steve! Thank you for explaining everything. I never forgot you either and you look good too.

This is one of the sweetest interactions I’ve had on Twitter. I memorized that song and used to sing it to my son.

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38 Responses to “Blue Clues’s first host, Steve Burns, gives people closure and we have feelings”

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  1. janey janey says:

    I loved his interview when he was like…yeah, it’s time to go. Steve is getting male pattern baldness. DEAD!

    But seriously, this was so cute. A little soul vitamin!

  2. MsIam says:

    Oh man, Blue’s Clues! I remember we went to Chicago years ago when my daughter was about four and they had a Nickelodeon store downtown and she just had to get a Blue stuffed animal. I agree, time sure flies! Good to see Steve is still involved with the show.

  3. minx says:

    Aw, my kids are 29 and 22 and this really takes me back. Sweet.

  4. Maria says:

    Haven’t really accomplished anything since you left Steve but thank you, it’s sweet, lol.

  5. M says:

    He was on Colbert last night. It was precious.

  6. girl_ninja says:

    This was just lovely and brought actual tears to my eyes.

    • Esmom says:

      Same. My son, who is on the spectrum, engaged with Blues Clues like no other show. It helped so much with his development. He had all the plastic figurines of the characters and one day I was in a frenzy retracing our steps to the park when he realized his Periwinkle fell out of the stroller. Thankfully a neighbor had rescued it and placed it right where I could find it.

      Such sweet memories of simpler times.

  7. Merrie says:

    My husband and I still sing “Here comes the mail, it never fails …” when we see the mail carrier. Our kids are 22 and 20, and they texted us saying they got teary at this video. I think one of the reasons they study art was because they always carried a Handy Dandy Notebook to draw what they see. Thank you Steve and the Blue’s Clues family! 🙂

    • Esmom says:

      Aw. My sons are the same age as yours but only my older son was into Blues Clues. Although my younger son had Blues Clues underwear as his first big boy pairs!

      I love to hear that they are artists. I hope they still keep their old Handy Dandy Notebooks in their Side Table Drawers. 🙂

  8. Case says:

    I’m 28 and this made me emotional. I didn’t watch long enough to see Steve leave the show, but I LOVED this show and I think had a crush on Steve when I was 4 or 5, lol. It’s been a hard two years for everyone, so this kind of stuff is really, really appreciated.

  9. Michelle says:

    I was in high school when this show was popular and I watched it then! Not a little kid, not a parent, but a high schooler! And I knew a lot of other people that did too. It really was so soothing and sweet and Steve just had an It factor. I watched Joe maybe twice before I gave up. I love that Steve released this message ❤️ I know it’s probably more for the young kids that are now grown up, but I feel like a little bit is for me too!! I just adore him. He still has that same quality that drew us all in.

    • Laura says:

      Michelle, me too!! I didn’t care that some made fun that I watched a “kiddie show”, it brought me so much joy & I had a crush on Steve… I love Blue’s Clues and always will.

      Also, just reading the transcript got me so emotional!! I’m not sure I can actually watch him say those words out loud. It has been pretty rough, Steve, but it’s always good to see your face.

    • NiqGee says:

      I was in the 7th grade when it started but I unironically used to love it. I loved the little songs and the anthropomorphised characters. I couldn’t connect with Joe so I stopped watching when Steve left. Blue’s Clues is just good vibes though.

  10. FHMom says:

    Pass the tissues. My daughters and I love Steve. It was never the same after he went to college. They are both in college now, and we always sing the ‘Steve is going to college’” song before they leave. I remember when Magenta got glasses. My daughter needed them, also; and we still sing that song, too. So many fond memories. That show and Steve were the best.

  11. MaryContrary says:

    My daughter just left for grad school across the country-and this absolutely reminds me of when she was little. I swear it was last week!! Pass the tissues!

  12. Bookie says:

    I dropped my baby off at college last week. This video made me cry buckets again.

  13. differen screen name. says:

    I was 12 when this show came out, but my little brothers watched it and I enjoyed sitting with them and watching.

    I watched his video and unexpectedly welled up with tears. He is so encouraging, so kind, and it felt like a warm hug after a hellish couple of years in this country. It felt healing in a weird way. I’m glad I’m not the only one who responded with emotion!

    • Meghan says:

      I was 9 when it came out and watched it sometimes with my cousin. My 5 year old kind of likes the new Blues Clues and You but prefers other shows. So I watched the video with the sound off and captions on and was like oh that’s sweet but I dont understand why people are SO emotional about it.

      Then NPR played a clip yesterday and I almost started crying and was like I understand now!

  14. mellie says:

    My girls are 28, 26 and 22….big Blues Clues fans, saw it live, watched it daily, had themed birthday parties, had all the ‘gear’. So, yeah, I cried real tears at this and I just bet they did too!

  15. L says:

    I remember my mom would record episodes of Blues Clues on VHS tapes so I could watch it when I got home from school, it was my fave show ❤️ This video definitely hit me in the feels. I now have a 6 year old who loves Blues Clues and You!

  16. AmelieOriginal says:

    I vaguely remembering watching Blue’s Clues when it was on the air but I didn’t have cable TV growing up so I didn’t see it regularly. For whatever reason there seemed to be a long standing rumor that I only heard from kids growing up that the host either died or had a drug problem and was forced to leave the show, that there was some huge controversy!! No idea where this rumor started and glad to see it isn’t true! But Steve was long rumored to have some sordid offscreen life pre social media.

    • josephine says:

      I thought I was the only one who remembered those rumors. There was a lot of talk of the info coming from “industry insiders” and people who worked on the set. I always wondered why more was not said back then to quash those rumors.

  17. Kate says:

    Thanks for explaining this. I’ve seen memes about it on instagram and thought it was hank azaria.

  18. Rose says:

    I never watched it and this was so wholesome it made me cry.

    We all just need good people in our corner.

  19. Snuffles says:

    I’ve seen some HILARIOUS Tik Toks with 20 somethings popping off about their abandonment issues because he left so abruptly.

  20. Plums says:

    I’m in the exact millennial age range for this to have punched me right in the feels, and I absolutely watched Blues Clues back in the day when he was the host, but unfortunately I heard his Moth Radio Hour story-o-cringe a couple years ago which already altered my perception of him, so even though I loved the sentiment behind this video, it fell totally flat for me, lol.

    It’s a good Moth story, don’t get me wrong! It’s just super real and NSFW. This Blues Clues throwback is like someone who is only familiar with Bob Saget as the dad from Full House getting all up in their feels if he decided to randomly reprise the role in a feel good video for the generation of kids that grew up on Full House when it would hit differently for someone who grew up on Full House but then got older and found out about Bob’s standup.

  21. Common sense says:

    I love kids shows like blues clues. My son used to watch blues clues and you ( he’s 6 by the way). I really loved watching cartoons with him such as Daniel tiger, doc mcstuffins, Molly of Denali and bubble guppies to name a few (we watched a lot of TV last year during lockdown. Now he doesn’t have time for “baby shows” as he calls them. Now he watches nickelodeon and nicktoons. He’s growing up way too quickly, he’s 6 years old he should still be watching “baby shows “!

  22. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Shame on this thread! My kids and I loved Blues Clues so much, we did the live shows a few times. Standing in line forever and spending exorbitant amounts of money on souvenirs. I remember our reaction to Steve leaving, it was painful lol. How many of us, for time, answered our kids in Blue’s voice babble? Or checked the mail singing mail time? Blues Clues is nostalgic gold.

  23. Ebee says:

    I was a college student when Blue first launched. After a rough week, Blue and Steve were the perfect speed to calm frayed nerves. I had a stuffed Blue (still have it in my office!) in my campus cubicle and people would come by and ask to borrow her for a while. They’d wander off, petting her ears, and she’d return after an unknown adventure. Or maybe an algebraic calculus class. We all needed comfort in that one.

  24. Jamie says:

    My daughter who is 21 sent me the video and she said it choked her up so I knew it would send me over the edge of emotion! She used to run around the house saying pap-a-rika instead of pap-rika. Seeing Steve again brought all of that back.

  25. TW says:

    The show is exactly one year older than our oldest son, and it helped me get through the first year as a new parent. Our son just got married a few weeks ago, and seeing this brought all of the lovely memories of the two of us flooding back so vividly. Not going to lie…I ugly cried but with the sweetest memories ❤️🥲.

  26. Tiffany says:

    He was the millennial Mr Rogers and I think that is why it resonates with so many Gen Xers like myself.

    Because I still missed Mr Rogers when this show premiered and it was just what I needed and didn’t realize it.

  27. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    I remember watching this with my oldest, who was born in 98. We loved Steve. By the time my next two were born in ’01, Joe had replaced Steve and it just wasn’t the same.

  28. Margo says:

    I saw this and sat in a stunned emotional state – I can’t watch it again or I’ll go to bits. My son graduated from college and moved out of state to start a fabulous job just last week. I was so weepy and emotional on the day he was leaving. My daughter is getting ready to head off to college in another state this weekend so round two of the weepy emotional time is coming soon. Steve and Blue were such a happy backdrop to my kids’ childhoods. I think back to those days being a stay-at-home Mom (I was soooo lucky!) Seeing Steve again and hearing his message was very moving. OK…that’s it. I’m crying again.

  29. Suzz54 says:

    I feel you! My oldest is 20 and he was obsessed with Blues Clues.