Saturday, December 28, 2019

'Blue’s Clues & You!' Bows on Nickelodeon

Schedule change (11/6) - Blue's Clues & You! will premiere on Nickelodeon on Monday, November 11, 2019 at the new time of 1:00 p.m. (ET/PT)! Following launch, new episodes will continue to air weekdays at 11:00 a.m. (ET/PT) during the Nick Jr. programming block on Nickelodeon.

Update (9/28) - The first three episodes of Blue's Clues & You are now available to watch on Vudu! The episodes are "Meet Josh!", "Playdate with Magenta" and "Big News with Blue". The episodes are free to view, however, you do need to sign in to watch them.

Original Nickelodeon Press Release:

Nickelodeon’s Brand-new Preschool Series Blue’s Clues & You! Bows Monday, Nov. 11, at 9 A.M. (ET/PT)

FORMER BLUE’S CLUES HOSTS STEVE BURNS AND DONOVAN PATTON TO REPRISE ORIGINAL ROLES IN SERIES PREMIERE

Share it: @NickJr #BluesCluesAndYou

August 26, 2019 11:04 AM Eastern Daylight Time


NEW YORK--It’s time to pull up the Thinking Chair and follow the paw prints as Blue and her crew return in Nickelodeon’s brand-new preschool series Blue’s Clues & You!, debuting Monday, Nov. 11, at 9 a.m. (ET/PT). Steve Burns (Steve) and Donovan Patton (Joe) will reprise their roles in the series premiere, “Meet Josh!,” and help new live-action host Josh (Joshua Dela Cruz) and the audience solve their first game of Blue’s Clues.

Blue’s Clues & You! will feature brand-new elements alongside refreshed iconic items from the original series, including:

  • New CG-animation for Blue and Magenta;
  • An updated Handy Dandy Notebook equipped with a new blue crayon and smartphone technology, allowing Josh and Blue to receive emails and video calls;
  • An all-new Handy Dandy Guitar;
  • The return of fan-favorite characters: Tickety Tock, Slippery Soap, Shovel, Pail, Mr. Salt, Mrs. Pepper, Cinnamon, Paprika, Felt Friends, Sidetable Drawer and Mailbox, plus the original Thinking Chair;
  • And the introduction of Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper’s newest additions—twins Sage and Ginger.

Nickelodeon is further deepening the interactivity of Blue’s Clues & You! with the launch of brand-new play-along videos in Noggin, Nick’s top-ranked interactive learning subscription for preschoolers. Launching alongside the series’ linear premiere, the play-along videos will allow users to explore the stories in an immersive way, and engage with live-action host Josh and the animated characters, by tapping, touching or swiping to navigate through enhanced learning experiences. Preschoolers will also have the ability to customize elements, like the color of the clues or the creation of birthday cards for Blue, and then see their designs appear throughout the video. The classic Blue’s Clues library is currently available on Noggin and additional Blue’s Clues & You! play-along videos will continue to roll out into next year.


Following the series premiere of Blue’s Clues & You!, NickJr.com and the Nick Jr. App will feature original short-form content and full-length episodes. Episodes will also be available on Nick Jr. On Demand and Download-To-Own services.


Live-action host Josh and beloved puppy Blue, in Nickelodeon's brand-new Blue's Clues & You!

A remake of the groundbreaking, curriculum-driven interactive series Blue’s Clues, Blue’s Clues & You! follows Blue as she invites viewers to join her and Josh on a clue-led adventure and solve a puzzle in each episode. With each signature paw print, Blue identifies clues in her animated world that propel the story and inspire the audience to interact with the characters.


The original Blue’s Clues series launched in September 1996 to critical praise from educators, parents, and preschoolers and ran for six groundbreaking seasons. Created by Traci Paige Johnson, Todd Kessler, and Angela C. Santomero, Blue’s Clues drew acclaim and high ratings for its unique interactivity that helped change the way kids watch television and has remained one of the most popular preschool shows of all time. The landmark series also raised the bar in preschool television by exploring advanced subject matter such as sign language, geography, physics, emotions, and anatomy.

Nickelodeon, now in its 40th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location based experiences, publishing and feature films. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com/. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).

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To celebrate today's announcement, Nick Jr. released brand-new clip of the Blue's Clues reboot. As you can see above, this new clip follows Blue as the famous pup makes a request, but the new host Josh has trouble figuring out what's going on.

The clip begins with Josh telling fans he's unsure of what Blue wants with their snack, but he doesn't get too upset. He pulls out his handy dandy notebook which has gotten a big upgrade. Now, the book is part paper and part phone, so Josh takes a second to ring up some familiar faces.

First, Josh calls up Joe who is working at a present store. The pair talk for a moment before Steve is added to the call. The original host is working at the Blueprints Detective Agency where finding clues is what he does. As the pair all talk about Blue, Steve and Joe decide to chat with Blue directly, and they solve the mystery.

As it turns out, there is only one thing to do. Blue wants to play Blue's Clues, but the pair do one last thing before hanging up. Steve asks to talk to the viewers for a second, and he asks everyone to help Josh.

"Will you help my cousin Josh? Great because I can tell he's going to need a lot of help like I did," Steve says.

From Romper:

'Blue's Clues & You!' Brings Blue Back For New Adventures — EXCLUSIVE

Blue's Clues is back, in a slightly different — but nevertheless familiar — form on Nickelodeon. The revival, Blue's Clues & You!, exclusively debuts three episodes on the streaming service Vudu on Sept. 27 before it officially premieres on Nick on Nov. 11. Blue's Clues & You! brings Blue back for new adventures, along with some old friends and a new host, Joshua Dela Cruz. You can see them all in this exclusive clip [here on romper.com].

In many ways, the revived series is a lot like the original show. It follows a dog named Blue who leaves paw print-shaped clues on various objects to help her pal (owner? roommate?) Josh solve a puzzle. The level of audience interaction remains the same; there are gaps left in the dialogue so viewers can chime in and answer questions. The show still makes kids feel like they're part of what's going on. But there are a few technological updates, too.

This clip offers a glimpse at the new series, along with a hearty dose of nostalgia. In the episode "Playdate with Magenta," several fan favorite characters find themselves back on that beloved red couch. Blue's bestie Magenta is over for a visit, but when it comes time to take a photo together, several more friends pile into the frame. It doesn't look like Blue's Clues & You! has forgotten anyone.

The clip opens with Blue and Magenta bounding onto the couch while Josh walks by, with what looks like his Handy Dandy Notebook in his hands. Right away it's clear that the show is visually a little different, thanks to advances in animation since the original. But the vibe remains the same. Josh happily announces that it's picture time while Blue and Magenta act adorable in the background: they high-five their ears and tumble around just like the playful puppers they are.

Josh takes no notice of the explosion of cuteness behind him because he's focused on snapping a picture. To do that, he needs help from you, the viewer. He asks the viewer to hold his phone, which is when the update to the classic notebook becomes obvious. The notebook is no longer just a notebook, it also includes a handy dandy smartphone. Josh hands it over and the viewer brings it up to eye-level, so while you're watching it seems like you're looking right at the phone screen.

The pups are more than ready for their closeup, but when Josh tells them to move closer together, some other characters take the opportunity to jump into frame. Shovel and Pail arrive, with Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper joining soon after. The crew's all here! Josh excitedly gets them into position and encourages them to smile, at which point the viewer snaps the perfect shot. Then Josh asks Blue to take a picture of him with you, which she does using her ears. Unfortunately, you don't get to see how that one turned out.

The clip concludes with Blue using her ears to take a ton of selfies, because it's 2019 now and dogs know how to take selfies. Blue's Clues & You! has definitely been updated for a modern audience, but it seems to share its predecessor's fun spirit.

Blue's Clues & You! premieres on Nick on Nov. 11, with three episodes debuting early on Vudu on Sept. 27.

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From the Los Angeles Times:

Why Nickelodeon’s new ‘Blue’s Clues’ may feel very, very familiar

It won’t take an expert detective to sniff out the similarities between Nickelodeon’s upcoming series “Blue’s Clues & You” and its source material, “Blue’s Clues.”

After comparing the first three episodes of “Blues Clues & You” — currently available on Vudu — to their original counterparts on Amazon Prime, The Times has concluded the forthcoming reboot of the popular children’s program will follow mysteries nearly identical to those of its namesake. Key differences, such as a fresh host and updated technology, will separate the old from the new.

“Blue’s Clues,” which ran on Nickelodeon from 1996 to 2007, followed Steve Burns and his dog, Blue (voiced by co-creator Traci Paige Johnson), as Steve deciphered the meaning behind Blue’s barks by tracking strategically placed paw prints — with assistance from the show’s young viewers.

Each episode adhered to the same easily digestible formula: The live-action host collects three clues — drawing a symbol for each in his handy-dandy notebook along the way — that add up to Blue’s message of the day. Once Blue’s owner and the audience find every hint, the host returns to his “thinking chair” to solve the puzzle. The learning program earned eight consecutive Emmy nominations for preschool children’s series between 1998 and 2005.

“Blue’s Clues & You” sees Johnson reprise her voice role as the title pup opposite newcomer Josh, played by Joshua Dela Cruz, who takes up Steve’s mission to hunt for Blue’s clues. In the pilot, Josh also benefits from additional guidance, courtesy of former “Blue’s Clues” hosts Steve and Joe (Donovan Patton), who replaced Burns’ character in 2002.

Though the series uses newly recorded voice performances, the scripts and animated movements remain largely unchanged, as each episode closely matches the corresponding original — with a few exceptions. Because the new show runs about two minutes shorter than “Blue’s Clues’” 25 minutes, certain sequences that aren’t crucial to the plot — such as Blue painting elephants or assembling doll outfits out of felt — have been cut, while others more integral to the story have been shortened.

Among the modern elements to be featured in the reboot are Broadway star Dela Cruz’s jazzy spins on classic “Blue’s Clues” tunes, advanced CG animation for Blue and her canine pal, Magenta, and a tricked-out take on the host’s trademark notebook, which now doubles as a smartphone. In the second episode of “Blue’s Clues & You,” “Playdate With Magenta,” Josh’s notebook/phone comes in handy as the final clue, hinting that Blue wants to take a photo with Magenta during her visit. In the original, “Magenta Comes Over,” the final clue is a camera from the pre-smartphone era. Similarly, instead of receiving handwritten letters in the mail like Steve, Josh simply opens emails from pen pals on his phone.


Steve gets a letter from Mailbox in “Blue’s Clues.”(Screenshot by Christi Carras via Amazon Prime)


Josh gets an email notification from Mailbox in “Blue’s Clues & You.”(Screenshot by Christi Carras via Vudu)

Familiar friends such as Tickety Tock, Slippery Soap, Shovel, Pail, Mr. Salt, Mrs. Pepper, Cinnamon, Paprika, Felt Friends, Sidetable Drawer and Mailbox will return to accompany Josh and Blue on their adventures, along with some small additions — two of whom make their debut in the third installment of “Blue’s Clues & You.” While the original episode “Blue’s News!” introduced Paprika as Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper’s new baby girl, the updated version, “Big News With Blue” reveals Paprika’s littlest siblings, twins Sage and Ginger.

Amid an industrywide influx of new franchise installments, there are no set rules for remakes or revivals, though “Blue’s Clues & You” sticks closer to its predecessor than other animated TV reboots. The Times compared writing credits and episode synopses on more than 30 animated remakes — nearly all geared toward children — to their respective originals and concluded that none hewed as tightly to their initial iteration as the first three chapters of “Blue’s Clues & You.”

“For me, it’s kind of an homage to what I did, coming back to exactly the ... format that I created, which, at the time — and still, now — is completely unique to television,” “Blue’s Clues” co-creator Todd Kessler, who is not involved in the production of “Blue’s Clues & You,” told The Times in a phone interview, referring to the episodes now streaming on Vudu.

A pioneer in interactive TV, the first “Blue’s Clues” engaged its preschool-age fans by breaking the fourth wall and inviting them to help solve Blue’s riddles. In 2019, “Blue’s Clues & You” will take the interactivity up a notch with play-along videos available on Noggin, Nickelodeon’s youth-facing educational subscription service.

“They made a couple minor changes,” Kessler said. “But, literally, you’ll see they follow the shots and the animation pretty much in a paint-by-numbers way.”

“With any property, there’s a need to refresh it,” he added. “Our budget for ‘Blue’s Clues’ was about one quarter of what the budget for other Nickelodeon shows was at the time. So now the animation and the backgrounds are much more robust than they were originally. ... And also, they have a host who’s from mixed cultures and will have a much easier time being identified with around the world.”

The network also offered its perspective on how the updated “Blue’s Clues” nods to the show’s earlier days.

“The new series is not a shot-for-shot remake. We have refreshed a number of the original scripts and added modern touches,” a representative for Nickelodeon, which declined to make the producers of the reboot available for comment, said in a statement to The Times. “There are similarities, including ‘Easter eggs’ for the fans, and there are instances where the scripts adhere closely to the original as well as having many new moments.”

“Blue’s Clues & You” premieres Nov. 11 on Nick Jr.

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From TBI Vision:

MIPCOM 2019 Kids Hot Pick: Blue’s Clues & You!

Nickelodeon’s 1996 curriculum-driven interactive series Blue’s Clues followed an animated blue-spotted dog called Blue as she left a trail of clues/paw prints for the host and the viewers, to figure out her plans for the day.

Combining concepts from child development and early-childhood education with innovative animation and production techniques that helped viewers learn, the original incarnation became the highest-rated show for pre-schoolers on US commercial television.

The part live-action part animated series was syndicated in 120 countries and translated into 15 languages, becoming the longest-running Nick Jr. series until it was surpassed by Dora The Explorer in 2011.

The new series is a ‘reimagining’ for a new generation of pre-schoolers by its original creators, Traci Paige Johnson, Todd Kessler and Angela C. Santomero

Now called Blue’s Clues & You! (20 x 30 minutes), it will feature new elements alongside refreshed iconic items from the original series – including new CG-animation for Blue and Magenta, provided by Dublin-based Brown Bag Film’s Toronto studios, as well as several new characters.

The show’s new Filipino host Joshua Dela Cruz has already been declared “a grade-A hottie” by fans on Twitter, according to Huff Post, and distributor Viacom International Studios expects the programme to perform strongly in markets with a local host. “We’re in the initial phases of exploring which territories would be most effective and looking at potential hosts,” says Lauren Marriott, Viacom’s VP of International programme sales.

But will today’s generation of discerning multiplatform-consuming pre-schoolers, who expect their shows to be cross-platform and interactive, like the series?

Blue’s Clues & You!
Distributor: Viacom International Studios
Producer: Nickelodeon Animated Studios, Brown Bag Films, Out of the Blue Enterprises
Broadcaster: Nick Jr. (US)
Logline: A reimagining of the beloved 1990s blue-spotted dog Blue

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From The New York Times:

‘Blue’s Clues’ Returns, and Silence Is Still the Star

But will today’s overstimulated preschooler find a springy dog and her human sidekick a little basic in a noisier digital age?


More than two decades after it first debuted, “Blue’s Clues” returns to Nickelodeon, with a new host, Joshua Dela Cruz.

TORONTO — Two decades ago, “Blue’s Clues” stormed children’s television with something colorless, low-tech and ordinary: silence.

Last winter, on the Toronto set of “Blue’s Clues & You!” — a reboot premiering Nov. 11 on Nickelodeon — silence was still the star, even though the host was new and (relatively) loud. Joshua Dela Cruz, 30, bounced around an empty stage in a striped shirt (blue, not the original host’s signature green), strumming his handy dandy guitar. His co-star was a dot made by a laser pointer, a stand-in for his “best friend,” Blue, the waggy puppy who would be added later by animators, with a subtle 3-D revamp to increase her cuddle factor.

Dela Cruz sang about how smart and hardworking you, the imagined viewer, are, then leaned close to the camera to ask a question: “What’s your superpower?” Then came the silence: one, two, three, four beats long, an eon in TV time. Finally, Dela Cruz’s pie-eyed face lit up as if you’d responded brilliantly, and he gushed, “Great job!”

“Blue’s Clues,” which debuted in 1996 and ran for six seasons, followed by a spinoff called “Blue’s Room,” was the first children’s cable show built entirely around direct address, inviting preschoolers to play along with games and solve mini-mysteries (like “What snack does Blue want?”). The show was interactive before interactivity became mundane; those built-in silences left open for child participation.

Now it’s back, riding the twin entertainment trends of 1990s nostalgia and the resuscitation of corporate intellectual property, joining a fleet of children’s shows born of a backward glance. Elsewhere at Nickelodeon, “All That” and “Rugrats” are getting their owns remakes and “SpongeBob SquarePants” is getting a spinoff, “Kamp Koral” — while “Carmen Sandiego” has returned on Netflix, and “Animaniacs” has been revived by Hulu.

With anxieties about an uncertain world percolating among adults, fleeing to the familiar is a retreat to safety. So why not take the kids, too? “People want that comfy blanket feeling of the good old days,” said Traci Paige Johnson, one of the show’s creators.

For broadcasters like Nickelodeon — confronted with cord-cutting and depleted, fragmented viewership — the vaults of old shows look like a lifeline, a direct path to an intergenerational audience. A potentially lucrative one, too: The original “Blue’s Clues” was the first billion-dollar consumer brand for Viacom, its parent company.


The original “Blue’s Clues,” with Steve Burns as host, was an unlikely smash at a time when shows like “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” dominated the ratings. Photo: Nickelodeon.

But even then, “Blue’s Clues” was something of a throwback: a leisurely paced, unflashy show with the educational bona fides of its public TV predecessors “Mr. Rogers” and “Sesame Street.” An unlikely smash for a cable network, it paved the way for more learning-centric programs like “Dora the Explorer.” But the new “Blue” enters a much-altered viewing landscape where attention is diverted not just to streaming services, but to social media (#kidstagram) and the algorithms of the YouTube Kids app.

The other challenge is the show’s totemic status to a generation that feels ownership over Magenta, the Thinking Chair, Mrs. Pepper and the other inhabitants of Blue’s storybook world. Don’t panic — they’ll all be back, plus a few new citizens.

Still, Vince Commisso, president and chief executive of 9 Story Media Group, the production company behind the new show along with the animation studio Brown Bag Films, understands the risks. “Blue has the legacy and brand equity, but there’s a lot of pressure, because you can only screw it up,” he said, laughing.

Johnson and Angela Santomero, another creator, are determined not to let that happen. (A third creator, Todd Kessler, left “Blue’s Clues” in 2000.) Now in their 50s, the pair met at Nickelodeon in their early 20s when Santomero was using her master’s degree in child developmental psychology in the research department and Johnson was working as a freelance producer and animator. “We wanted to do something very simple and graphic and slow,” Santomero recalled. “Something where preschoolers were treated like they were smart, and felt empowered, emphasizing those social emotional skills. We were thinking of my hero — ”

“Mr. Rogers!” Johnson broke in, finishing the sentence, which they tend to do for one another.


Two of the creators of “Blue’s Clues,” Traci Paige Johnson (left) and Angela Santomero, are back to run the rebooted version. Credit: Bobby Doherty for The New York Times

“We were young, and Nickelodeon took a chance on us,” Santomero said. “They were busy with other things, like working on Dr. Seuss. They left us alone in a little room to come up with something.”

Most children’s TV at the time was built around male characters, but Blue would be a girl in the “boy” color of blue. She would never wear a bow. Using Johnson’s cutout animation style, her cartoon world would be clean and tactile, like a layered felt board, with lots of empty space. And while the storytelling would bolster kindergarten-readiness skills (at a time when the intensive parenting ethos was taking hold), it would also be silly — a half-hour with a single story line that would push children to actively listen.

In the mid-1990s, however, relaxed Federal Communications Commission regulations about educational content in children’s TV had made room for a different type of programming; it was a time when “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” dominated. “Parents were afraid. ‘Ren & Stimpy’ was on right before preschool shows,” Johnson said. “It was very hard to promote something that was soft and gentle.”

Yet, within months, “Blue’s Clues” was beating both “Sesame Street” and “Barney” in ratings. There were reams of merchandise, a straight-to-video movie featuring Ray Charles, a Macy’s balloon — as well as a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.

The show’s success demonstrated that educational research combined with advocacy could be profitable, said Alison Bryant, the author of “The Children’s Television Community.” “The fact that all TV shows today have educational curriculum consultants is definitely because of ‘Blue’s Clues,’” she said.

In 2004, the show was canceled, an event Santomero described as devastating, though the creators moved on. Fred Rogers’s estate approached Santomero to create a new series, which became “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” on PBS. Johnson joined her, but while they’ve worked together on other projects — including “Creative Galaxy” and “Super Why!” — every few years they would return to Nickelodeon to sniff out the possibility of bringing Blue back.

In 2017, they got the go-ahead to develop a reboot from Sarah Landy, a development executive at Nickelodeon Preschool, who just happened to be a former assistant on “Blue’s Clues.” Not long after came an order for 20 episodes.


After Burns left the original show in 2000, Donovan Patton took his place as host. Credit: Nickelodeon.

Burns will appear as a guest, alongside Dela Cruz, on “Blue’s Clues & You!”

But will today’s overstimulated 2- to 5-year-olds find a springy dog and her human sidekick a little basic? “Kids have more access to technology. They’re more visual. But from a child development perspective, emotionally, they’re the same. If anything, they need to slow down and take a step at a time more than ever,” said Santomero, quoting the show’s theme song.

Creators of the new “Blue’s Clues” acknowledge the realities of children’s lives today with small tweaks, like updating the handy dandy notebook to include a phone. At mail time, an email arrives. But the most notable change is the host.

An open casting call led to about 1,000 hopefuls showing up in Los Angeles, many dressed like the original host, Steve Burns. After setting anchor in a generation’s collective imagination with his guileless persona and pleated khakis, Burns left in 2000 (his character went to college), to be replaced by Donovan Patton as “Joe.” “I had given all of the smiley energy I had,” Burns said. “I was truly pretty exhausted.”

But his tentative forays into social media revealed fans’ fierce devotion to “Blue’s Clues,” which helped persuade Burns to take ownership of his legacy. He is writing and directing on “Blue’s Clues and You!” and making guest appearances. He also weighed in on the new host, casting a vote for Dela Cruz.

Dela Cruz had been understudying Aladdin on Broadway for five years when his agent mentioned an audition for the new “Blue’s Clues.” Growing up in New Jersey, he used to watch the show with his superfan little sister and walked around belting, “Mail time!”

Any working actor might be drawn to the steady paycheck of a Nickelodeon gig, but Dela Cruz, who is Filipino-American, was also eager to break barriers as the show’s first Asian-American host. “Growing up, I never saw anybody like me on TV,” he said. “Especially somebody who was Asian that didn’t have an accent, who didn’t have value because they could fight.”

There’s a good chance that a year from now, Dela Cruz will be a preschool idol around the world: a stripy, human Elmo. Viacom recently announced the first licensee partners for plush toys, play sets and digital games. While the reboot machinery churns, Dela Cruz said he was trying to focus on the imaginary scene partner on the opposite side of the lens. Burns offered him a key piece of advice: “Lean into the silence. It’s your friend.”

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From Hidden Remote:

Blue’s Clues and You: Host Joshua Dela Cruz chats diversity, hopes for new series and more!

Blue is back on Nick Jr. in Blue’s Clues & You to entertain and help educate a new generation of preschoolers. Below, host Joshua Dela Cruz chats about taking on Steve and Joe’s duties, what he hopes the new series accomplishes, and more!

Josh, like so many of us, grew up watching Blue’s Clues on Nickelodeon, never imagining that he would one day be the host of the series after Steve Burns (and later Joe, portrayed by Donovan Patton). A New Jersey native, Josh is a triple threat and has appeared in Disney’s Broadway production of Aladdin as the understudy for Aladdin. One might also recognize Josh from his appearances on CBS’s Bull and ABC’s Time After Time. But the actor always had his eyes and goals set on bigger things. And really, what’s bigger than hosting the reboot of Blue’s Clues?

The series, Blue’s Clues & You, premiers on Nick Jr. Monday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. (ET/PT). In the premiere, original hosts Steve Burns and Donovan Patton appear. They have passed on the duties to their “cousin” Josh and give audiences a warm hello. Those who grew up watching Blue’s Clues, whether on their own or with their younger siblings, will find this very heartwarming.

They don’t make TV like they used to, especially programs for children! Now that most of us original-Blue’s Clues fans are parents, it feels great to have the adorable puppy Blue back for a new generation to enjoy and love.

Josh shares how he and his little sister didn’t have cable at their home, so visits to their aunt’s house were particularly exciting since they would tune in to Nick Jr. in the morning to watch Blue’s Clues. Diversity wasn’t in high-demand back in the day, unfortunately, so appearing on TV, let alone host Blue’s Clues was not something Josh thought possible.

“[Watching TV] I never experienced [seeing ] Asian actors –forget filipino, just any Asian actor that wasn’t acting out caricatures of stereotypes. I didn’t connect with anyone.” Josh remembers.

This led Josh to pursue theater, where he was able to find more diversity, commenting:

“I realized that it was never a dream [to be an actor] of mine, just because I didn’t consider it possible. To be able to take on this role [on Blue’s Clues and You], I hope future generations that are watching can take away that it could be you on screen. You can have whatever dream job you wish.”

Steve Burns is credited as having created magic with Blue’s Clues, quickly rising to popularity and easily becoming one of the best and most popular TV shows for kids of all-time. Donovan Patton carried on Steve’s duties and the series continued to be successful. Now, a big weight is on Josh’s shoulders, but I, and those who have already caught snippets of the new show, know there’s nothing to worry about.

When we asked Josh what he believes he has to offer and how he stands out from Steve and Joe, he says:

“I think everyone brings their own person and history to the part. It’s just going to be me, Josh, bringing ME into this character. I can only be myself. Steve talked to me about it. He is the sweetest, most encouraging, supportive person I know. Steve really is how he appears to be on the show. I hope to do the same and portray myself into this character.”

With Josh being the only real thing in front of the camera, we wondered if any improv was possible, but filming is tougher than it looks!

“No improv. You have to be pretty specific with everything. Like when it’s Mail Time, I dance with the letter. I have to be starring right at Blue, which could be green tape or a tennis ball, a figurine, if I’m really lucky.”

Finally, on what he hopes children take away from Blue’s Clues & You, Josh says:

“To feel empowered and want to have fun while learning. When they go to school, to feel joy about working hard. To learn that it’s about working hard, not how smart you are. I hope kids have a good time learning to laugh and be silly, walking away better learners.”

Blue’s Clues & You premieres on Nick Jr. Monday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. (ET/PT).

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From NPR.org:

'Blue's Clues' Returns With A New Host

The children's TV show Blue's Clues is back after 15 years, with a new host. NPR's Scott Simon talks with Josh Dela Cruz about what it's like solving mysteries with an animated dog.


(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BLUE'S CLUES AND YOU")

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: (As characters) A clue.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

"Blue's Clues" is back.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BLUE'S CLUES AND YOU")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) Oh, a clue. Wait. Where's the clue?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: (As characters) There.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) Oh, a clue.

SIMON: For the Blue's Clue-less, it's a kid's TV show on Nickelodeon with an animated blue dog and her companion who rely on viewers to help them solve mysteries. Started in 1996, that companion was Steve. Joe followed. It was never BJ Leiderman, who writes our theme music. But there were no new episodes for 12 years. Well, that wrong will be righted Monday. Blue returns with new puzzles for preschoolers and with a new human, a nice guy named Josh Dela Cruz, who joins us now from New York. Thanks so much for being with us.

JOSH DELA CRUZ: Thanks for having me, Scott.

SIMON: This new version, I gather, of the show is called "Blue's Clues And You." And besides you, what else is new?

DELA CRUZ: (Laughter) Well, since it is 2019 and it's been years since a new episode has been released, we've updated a lot of things, starting with Blue and Magenta. Traditionally, they were 2D animation. And now they will be 3D. They will be furry and fluffy and...

SIMON: Aw.

DELA CRUZ: ...So huggable. And I guess the most notable is the handy dandy notebook. It'll still have the classic yellow pages. And we'll still draw on it with the crayon. But now on the other side, it's a smartphone. So that opens up an entire world of possibilities, and it's really exciting.

SIMON: Aw. Were you Aladdin on Broadway?

DELA CRUZ: Yeah. I was with the show for about five years. And I was originally an understudy. And I understudied Aladdin and Iago. And then I took over for three months, which was a dream. Yeah.

SIMON: What's it like to go from being on Broadway to playing to a green screen?

DELA CRUZ: The most notable difference is the silence (laughter)...

SIMON: Yeah.

DELA CRUZ: ...Because, you know, there's always an audience there with you when you're on stage. After I finish a take, I'll usually turn to somebody and be like, did we get it? Was that funny because I have no idea (laughter).

SIMON: Let's advise all youngsters to turn away from the radio for just a moment while I ask you this next question. They add Blue later, right?

DELA CRUZ: Yes. Oh, my gosh. She's the biggest diva. She's never there for any of my scenes.

SIMON: (Laughter).

DELA CRUZ: You know (laughter) she's like Marlon Brando was during...

SIMON: Oh, with Rod Steiger...

DELA CRUZ: ..."On The Waterfront." Yeah. That's right.

SIMON: ...Or without Rod Steiger. Right, exactly.

DELA CRUZ: Yeah. That's right (laughter).

SIMON: Oh, my word.

DELA CRUZ: No. Yeah, she's usually a piece of green tape, or if I'm lucky - if I'm lucky, Scott - a green tennis ball.

SIMON: Well, it's a tribute to your acting ability that that doesn't throw you off. Did you watch the shows as a youngster?

DELA CRUZ: I did. I did. You know, I was about seven at the time. And I was watching with my little sister. And that was my first brush with the show.

SIMON: And I have to note. You're a Filipino American...

DELA CRUZ: I am.

SIMON: ...Which - we haven't seen a lot of Filipino Americans front and center on children shows, have we?

DELA CRUZ: Yeah, not on children's television. You know, it's - I really feel honored that I've been given this opportunity to be in a role where it didn't require somebody that was Filipino American, you know, where I could just be myself. And they didn't cast me because they needed to cast a Filipino American. I think that's what the powerful part is for me and hopefully for other generations to come was that growing up, I never saw anybody that looked like me or that I could identify with that wasn't a caricature of a stereotype or somebody that didn't resort to violence or was a foreigner. So it's really an amazing thing to be in a children's show where I'm being silly, and the comedy has nothing to do with my nationality or my ethnicity or whatever I identify with.

And my most favorite thing that I've heard so far comes from friends or friends of friends from their kids saying that they point at the TV screen or the computer screen and they go, hey, he looks like me. And I think that's the coolest part.

SIMON: "Blue's Clues And You" with Josh Dela Cruz premieres Monday, 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Nickelodeon. Thanks so much for being with us.

DELA CRUZ: Thank you so much, Scott.

###

From NextShark:

Filipino-American Actor Who Grew Up Watching ‘Blue’s Clues’ is Now Hosting It

It was through watching “Blue’s Clues” and singing the “Mailtime” song with his little sister at the age of 7 when Josh Dela Cruz knew that he wanted to sing and act.

Now, after more than 20 years since it premiered on Nickelodeon, the live-action/animated children’s show is returning to TV with Cruz as the new host of the reboot series “Blue’s Clues & You!”

While attending high school in New Milford, N.J., Dela Cruz joined the theater program to audition for “High School Musical” as a way to make friends. He still wasn’t sure if he wanted to be an actor until he received a scholarship to study at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn during the summer of his junior year.

“That was the first time I was surrounded by people who knew that that’s what they wanted to do,” he told NextShark.

Dela Cruz feels fortunate to have parents who were supportive of his ambitions, but he remembers his mom and dad being hesitant.

“It’s a scary thing whenever your kid wants to go into the arts, especially my family, they’re from the Philippines,” he said.

Dela Cruz went on to graduate from Montclair State University with a degree in musical theater before booking his Broadway debut as Aladdin’s understudy and holding the lead role for three months in 2017. He also took on the role of Iago, the sarcastic parrot who served as Jafar’s right-hand man.

But after five years with the theater company, Dela Cruz was still yearning to do something more with the skills that he had acquired and learned on his journey so far. That’s when his agent sent him the audition for “Blue’s Clues & You!”


He never thought much about children’s television being a possible career path until people around him would reminisce about “Blue’s Clues.”

“The show is such a huge part of our lives,” he said. “And I think this is the thing that I was waiting for.”

While preparing for the show, Josh says he received some advice from Steve Burns — who was the original host of the long-running program — and Donovan Patton — who replaced Steve as his younger brother Joe — that came in handy dandy.

“First, when you’re talking into the camera, the person on the other side of the glass is a real person and you need them. If you’re asking them a question, it’s not because they happen to be there. It’s because they are the leading authority on whatever it is that you’re asking them. And you can’t move on until they help you with the answer,” he explained.

Burns and Patton also encouraged him to be himself no matter what.

“I should never feel like I need to do anything or replicate anything that they have done, that they hired me because they love me and what I bring and what I do,” he recalled. “It’s pretty incredible to be talking to the people that you watched on TV that were empowering you to be yourself and to be silly.”


Dela Cruz will introduce “Blue’s Clues” to a new generation of kids and Asian American families who may feel underrepresented on the small screen.

“Growing up the roles that Asian Americans were cast in were because of what they looked like and the stereotypes or caricatures that go along with it. While I think that martial arts is awesome, I never quite identified with being a villain, foreigner,” he went on. “So I feel really honored to have that privilege to be ‘Josh,’ who is also Filipino.”

What else can fans expect from the new “Blue’s Clues & You!”? Besides Steve and Joe, many of the iconic characters from the original series will make a return, including the Shaker family, and Magenta, who, along with Blue, will appear in 3D this time around.

For any millennials who grew up watching the show, the handy dandy notebook is now a smartphone.

Josh points out that technology encroaching in every aspect of our lives is something the reboot acknowledges.

“Now we can get video calls and emails and we can Skype with Joe and Steve and Mr. Salt, Mrs. Pepper and anyone,” he explained.

That adventure continues when “Blue’s Clues & You!” premieres on Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. EST, as Steve and Joe pass the torch to Josh and teach him how to solve Blue’s mysteries.


Pictured: The new host of Blue’s Clues, Joshua Dela Cruz, on Nickelodeon. Photo: Gavin Bond/Nickelodeon. (C)2018 Viacom, International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Pictured: The new host of Blue’s Clues, Joshua Dela Cruz, on Nickelodeon. Photo: Gavin Bond/Nickelodeon. (C)2018 Viacom, International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

###

From Character Media:

‘Blue’s Clues’ Is Back—With Joshua Dela Cruz Leading The Show

If you’re a ’90s baby, chances are that the words “handy-dandy notebook” and “mail time” will conjure up some nostalgic memories of your childhood: memories of Steve in his bright green stripes hunting for blue pawprints with his adorable dog, Blue. Or memories of singing like a pretend opera star every time the “Mail Time Song” came on, or even of crying your eyes out when Steve left the show to go to college. But a new generation of kids will soon know the references to this famous children’s show.

That’s right. “Blue’s Clues” is back. And while old friends like Blue, Magenta, and even the original hosts—Steve Burns (Steve) and Donovan Patton (Joe)—will be returning for the Nickelodeon show’s premiere on Nov. 11, there’s a new addition to the family that will carry the show’s legacy. Introducing the new “Blue’s Clues & You” host, Joshua Dela Cruz.

A former musical theater actor in the original Broadway cast of Disney’s “Aladdin,” Dela Cruz spent most of his childhood indulging in his love for music. Whether it was singing karaoke (a favorite pastime in the Filipino community, as he notes) or participating in school music programs, music played a significant role in his life. It wasn’t until high school that his older sister encouraged him to audition for the school’s musical, which ultimately made him fall in love with theater. Soon, he landed a scholarship to Papermill Playhouse—the regional theater in New Jersey—which eventually led him to pursue musical theater at Montclair State University. It was there that he met his wife, Amanda, and other aspiring artists. “That was the first time I had ever been around people that wanted to pursue acting in any form as a career,” Dela Cruz says. “ It’s not something that I’d ever been exposed to, especially culturally. To be surrounded by people—particularly such a diverse groups of kids—who wanted to do this for a living because it was their passion was an awakening for me.”

Straight out of college, he found himself on the right career path, booking a role in a production of “The King and I” at Kansas City Starlight, opposite acclaimed Pinoy actor Lou Diamond Phillips. “I doubt he remembers who I am, but Lou Diamond Phillips played such a huge role in my progression,” says Dela Cruz. “During that production, I said I was nervous, and he pulled me aside and told me, ‘You belong here.’ And that was such a huge thing for someone to say, especially a Filipino actor who has done so much that had nothing to do with him being Filipino.” As a Filipino American, Dela Cruz says that he often struggled to find representation within the theater world. “I’ve never seen anybody like me outside a production of ‘The King and I’ or ‘Miss Saigon,’ or really do anything other than playing an Asian person in an Asian musical,” says Dela Cruz.

“I love that with ‘Blue’s Clues’ we’re celebrating the fact that I’m Filipino, but I wasn’t cast because I’m Filipino.”

And perhaps that’s why when Nickelodeon announced him as the new “Blue’s Clues” host, the AAPI community went wild. For once in American children’s television, there would be an Asian American in a show and role that’s not necessarily about being Asian. “I love that with ‘Blue’s Clues’ we’re celebrating the fact that I’m Filipino, but I wasn’t cast because I’m Filipino,” says Dela Cruz. “And that’s what’s beautiful. I’m just so stinkin’ lucky that I get to grow into me and be myself while impacting kids in a positive way.”

For his first leading role on the small screen, Dela Cruz has some big shoes to fill. After all, “Blue’s Clues” lives fondly in the memories of those who grew up watching Steve and Blue, as they solved puzzles and taught preschoolers everything from American Sign Language to how to tell time. But after watching Dela Cruz sing the iconic “Mail Time Song,” you’ll quickly realize your childhood is in safe hands—in other words, he’s perfect for the role. Not only does he retain the original show’s energy and charm, he brings his impressive singing and dancing chops to the table. Even the show’s original host, Steve Burns (who is now the consulting producer and director on the new series) attests that Dela Cruz is taking the show to a new level. “He’s a Broadway-level singer and dancer, and that is adding so many dimensions already,” says Burns via email. “Neither Donovan nor I can sing. Or dance. At all.”

“Josh is genuinely imaginative and engaging, and he had an inherent sense for the blue screen demands of the role,” says “Blue’s Clues” original host, Steve Burns.

Dela Cruz was picked because he was the perfect guy for the job. Out of a pool of more than 3,000 auditionees, he was chosen for the role. Burns was also a part of the search, and who better than the original host himself to deem who’s right for the role? “It always has to be real,” says Burns. “Even when it’s goofy. Even when you’re freaking out because the mail arrived. The relationship between the host and the home viewer must be specific and real.” When Dela Cruz went into his green screen test, Burns knew he had what it took. “Josh is genuinely imaginative and engaging, and he had an inherent sense for the blue screen demands of the role,” says Burns. “Also, he’s a great guy in general, and we all liked him immediately. Still do!”

Dela Cruz says that he found incredible support and new friends in the original hosts, Burns and Patton. “I used to watch them on TV, it’s crazy!” Dela Cruz says. “And now I have their phone numbers and we’re talking about old movies. They made me into family. They’re the two big brothers that I need, especially with this show, they’re just great role models and super supportive.” But he also found a role model in another certain legend from children’s television. While still working on “Aladdin,” Dela Cruz felt he wanted to do more with his life than just entertain, he wanted to use his gifts to help other people. During the audition process for “Blue’s Clues,” the Mr. Rogers documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” came out. “It was one of those moments where it was the right place, right time,” says Dela Cruz. “After my callback, I went to see the Mr. Rogers documentary and thought, ‘Yup. This is the right thing. I want this so badly.’ Mr. Rogers was so huge in my life growing up. And our creator, Angela [Santomero], got into this business because of Mr. Rogers. I knew this is what I wanted.”

Parents, and old and new “Blue’s Clues” viewers alike, are all ready to see what this new chapter of the show has in store for Blue and her friends. “More music, more songs, lots of dancing and super mega cool animation,” Burns teases. “Also, his new notebook is like the coolest thing ever, and I’m jelly.”

“I hope that kids learn that whoever you are and whatever you identify as, it’s okay to be silly and step out of your comfort zone.”
Speaking of the new notebook, did you know it also has a phone now? In order to keep up with the times, the show has updated a few things. “We get emails now, which is fun,” says Dela Cruz. “I think it’s amazing that they were able to marry a notebook and a phone. We never lose the fact that we draw each clue, but we also don’t ignore the fact that technology is such a huge part of our world. I think kids are going to have a great time. Although, I apologize to any parent if the show becomes something that’s on repeat all the time!”

While the new series will introduce more modern elements to the adventures of Blue and Josh, the heart and soul of the original will still remain the same. And just like his idol Mr. Rogers, Dela Cruz hopes that children will have fun learning while watching his show. “I hope that kids learn that whoever you are and whatever you identify as, it’s okay to be silly and step out of your comfort zone,” says Dela Cruz. “To be kind and to communicate to each other and the people around them, so that they can live life as full as they deserve. All of our content is focused on the well-being of our viewer—and that’s all we’re ever concerned about.”

###

From Multichannel:

Top Kids’ Producer Returns With ‘Blue’s Clues & You!’

Angela Santomero excited about reuniting the gang on Nickelodeon

Angela Santomero, who helped create the iconic kids show Blue’s Clues, was concerned about being a one-hit wonder.

Six series later, Santomero is chief creative officer of global production company 9 Story Media Group, and Blue’s Clues is being revived as Blue’s Clues & You!, starting Monday (Nov. 11) on Nickelodeon.

“Relaunching it now is taking me back,” Santomero said. And though kids’ viewing behaviors have changed and so has the TV business, “there’s still a need and a niche for quality educational kids media and that’s what empowers me.”

Santomero left Columbia University with a master’s degree in child developmental psychology with a specialty in technology and media and went to work in the research department at Nickelodeon. “I was going to change the way kids watch TV,” she recalled.

At the time, Nickelodeon had a hit in Double Dare and was looking for a game show for preschoolers. “From my background, I wanted to figure out a way to get to play and be active in the media, but learn while they’re playing,” she said. “And so Blue’s Clues became that show.”

The show, unique in the way it paused to let kids interact with what was happening on screen, went on the air 23 years ago and ran for 10 years. (There was also a spinoff called Blue’s Room.)

After Blue’s Clues ended, Santomero started a company called Out of the Blue and began creating a series of shows. One was Super Why! for PBS, another is Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (she was great friends with Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers; Fred Rogers Productions produced Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood). Santomero, who has been nominated 21 times for Emmys, finally won one for Daniel Tiger.

Santomero also created shows for streaming services, with Wishenpoof! and Creative Galaxy for Amazon Studios and Charlie’s Colorforms City for Netflix.

Out of the Blue was acquired by 9 Story Media Group in 2018 and Santomero was named chief creative officer, overseeing its studios in New York. When Nickelodeon decided to reboot Blue’s Clues, Santomero got the call. “Angela has always been wanting to bring it back. We’ve always been in touch with her and the second the idea was brought out there, she was just really so excited and just jumped at the opportunity,” Sarah Landy, senior vice president of production and development at Nickelodeon Preschool, said.

“A lot of the people who have grown up on Blue’s Clues are starting to have families of their own,” Landy, who worked on the original show, said. “It just felt like the right time to bring a fresh perspective to the show.”

She said Santomero “has amazing creative ideas and that stems from knowing our audience so well because of the research she does.”

Though their media habits have changed, what preschoolers want to watch really hasn’t. “They’re more tech-savvy, but at the core, they’re the same emotionally as they were 22 years ago,” Landy said. “Some of their expressive vocabulary is bigger, but they still haven’t caught up emotionally. Development is still development, so we have to make sure we’re not constantly aging up and making everything older.”

Blue’s Clues & You! still has “the same entertainment parts, it still has the great characters and still looks really different than anything else on TV right now,” Santomero said. With computer graphic technology Blue is more fluffy and huggable, she said. “Educationally, it still has the same level of higher order thinking skills and kindergarten readiness skills. What I’m most proud of is it empowers kids.”

Also new is the host, Josh Dela Cruz. “We looked at 3,000 actors and actresses to find the right person,” Santomero said. “He is amazing. He talks to the camera like nobody’s business. Not too many people can talk to the camera. He can.”

Steve and Joe Return

Original Blue’s Clues hosts haven’t been forgotten. Both are a part of the new show, with Steve Burns writing and directing and Donovan Patton, who played Steve’s replacement and brother Joe, directing. They’re also on the show.

Blue’s Clues co-creator Tina Paige Johnson is also back, as co-creator and co-executive producer.

“It’s like a family affair,” Santomero said. “I love that Steve and Joe come back and teach Josh how to play Blue’s Clues and really pass the torch over to him.”

With new technology from Nick’s Noggin app, there is also a more interactive play-along version of Blue’s Clues & You! available to kids.

The show has already been available on Walmart’s Vudu streaming service and episodes are on YouTube. “I’m hearing everyone is ridiculously happy,” she said.

The first order of 20 episodes of Blue’s Clues & You! has been completed. Have more been ordered?

“We haven’t announced anything,” Santomero said, pausing. “We’re going to announce pretty soon.”

###

From Buzzfeed:

"Blue's Clues" Is Back And Wants A Whole New Generation To Enjoy The Silence


Lauren Strapagiel / BuzzFeed News

Blue's Clues & You! has a new host and new graphics, but the same charm that millennials fell in love with as kids.

TORONTO — Watching an episode of Blue's Clues get made is as charmingly lo-fi as the show itself.

The set is nothing more than a green screen with a table draped in the same hues. Behind that table, new host Joshua Dela Cruz and Blue's original pal, Steve Burns, are deciding what Christmas tree decorations their various animated friends would like best.

As Dela Cruz mimics the sound of a rocket ship taking off with all the gusto of a toddler, the staff sitting behind rows of monitors in the studio coo and giggle. "That was so cute!" is whispered more than once.


Lauren Strapagiel/BuzzFeed News

It's October, about a month out from the Nov. 11 premiere of Blue's Clues & You!, the latest iteration of the beloved preschool show about a cartoon dog and her human pal solving puzzles. The new show is being shot in Toronto, and on this day in particular, Dela Cruz and Burns are shooting a future holiday episode.

The reboot is as much a homecoming for the show's stars and producers — as well as the millennials who watched as kids — as it is a fresh introduction for kids to a series that was a trailblazer in children's television.

When Blue's Clues first aired in 1996, it broke ground as the first show for preschoolers that broke the fourth wall and left space for viewers to respond to the host, starting with Burns. It ran until 2006, with Donovan Patton (known as "Joe") replacing Burns for the last four years.

Things will be a little different this time around, though. Blue and her pals are now computer-generated, Dela Cruz's trusty notebook is also a smartphone, and that iconic rugby shirt is now blue.

But much is also the same as the original, including the signature pauses for silence. As Dela Cruz and Burns act out their lines, there are long pauses. To an adult, it feels awkward, like a space that needs filling. But to a preschool audience, this is the magic that made Blue's Clues a hit.

"To me, the show looks so different. I see a lot of differences. But I think the thing that's the same as what we did is the silence and the fact that our show leans into silence," Burns told BuzzFeed News. "My favorite thing about Blue’s Clues is the amount of silence."


Taylor Miller/BuzzFeed News

Burns and Patton will both be making appearances in the reboot — Burns is even writing and directing some episodes — and their involvement also meant they could take Dela Cruz under their wing. According to them, he's fitting right in.

"It just feels good to be able to support — that's how I see that role, as nostalgia guy. I'm Yoda. I'm shorter and green and old, and I'm here teaching Luke what to do," said Burns.

"I get to be Uncle Owen," Patton added. "I give him some blue milk and I ask where he's been and why he's late all the time."

Dela Cruz came to the show by way of Aladdin on Broadway, and it's a big dose of nostalgia for him too. He used to watch the show with his little sister when he was younger.

"It's very exciting, but I do pinch myself because I'm like, you just shared a screen with Donovan and Steve, who you were watching on the other side of the screen, and you just had dinner with them and it wasn't a thing, you were just the old friends getting back together, which is like the coolest thing ever," he said.

Traci Paige Johnson, one of the show's original creators, told BuzzFeed News all three men share a certain kind of personality that lets them carry the show.

The trick, Burns said, is remembering that you're not the star of the show — that kid watching is. It's up to them to tell the host how to solve Blue's clues, the host is just along for the ride.

"It's a buddy cop investigation show, and they're the buddy, and you never see them but that's the whole job," said Burns.


Burns and Johnson remember making that first episode back in the ’90s in a basement, then quietly waiting for the premiere.

Things are, of course, different this time.

With social media, there's been hype building around the reboot as Nickelodeon releases teasers. There's also that time Dela Cruz went viral on Twitter after someone found some shirtless Instagram photos and declared him a thirst trap.


"I woke up in the morning and looked at my phone, and like, my two sisters were just blowing up my phone," he said, laughing. "They were like, 'Have you seen this?!' and I clicked on the link and was like, Noooooo."



Social media has also shown that millennials who grew up with Blue, some of whom have children of their own, are excited to see their favorite characters again. After the show's premiere on Monday, many shared their joy on Twitter.

Still, there's also been those claiming a reboot is ruining their childhood, but Johnson is taking it all in stride.

"When you're taking a classic and rebooting it, there's so many pokers out there who won't like it, but the response has been phenomenal," she said. "Just when Nickelodeon leaked the little video of Josh calling Steve and Joe, and just the outpouring of these 20-year-olds ... it's just a beautiful feeling that we touched so many people and that everyone's so excited for it to come back. It's like comfort food for the soul."

###

From BCK Online:

TIA MOWRY AND KIDS ARE EXCITED ABOUT THE NEW “BLUES CLUES AND YOU”

Blues Clues and You premiered back in 1996 and was an immediate hit with Nickelodeon audiences as Blue and her buddies took viewers on fun and educational adventures. Well, Blue is back with new and familiar faces and everyone was truly excited about the debut, including actress Tia Mowry.


“I grew up watching BLUES CLUES and was even on the show when I was younger. To now have my children watch the show is so surreal. Congrats!!” Tia shared ahead of the show’s debut on Monday

The reboot will include new friend, Joshua Dela Cruz, who will host the 20-episode series, taking over the role that put original series host, Steve Burns, on the map.

###

From Tennis Tonic:

Serena Williams happy to relax with her daughter Olympia. PICTURE

Serena has some quality time with her daughter Olympia

Serena Williams is having a great time at the Maldives with her delightful daughter Olympia and devoted husband Alexis Ohanian.

The former world no.1 “celebrates” a moment of “normality” with Olympia while watching a cartoon on the tablet. Serena commented:

“Sometimes vacation means cartoons with @olympiaohanian, and she’s super excited for the first episode of Blues Clues & You today on @nickelodeon. ”


[...]

###

From ComicBook:

Blue's Clues & You! Host Joshua Dela Cruz Talks Expectations, New Elements, and Advice From Steve and Joe

Nickelodeon is introducing a new generation of fans to the lovable dog Blue in Blue's Clues & You, and those fans will also meet a brand new host in Joshua Dela Cruz. Cruz will follow hosts Steve and Joe in hosting the popular series, and as fans learned they are still around in Blue's world, though the show will focus on Joshua and Blue. ComicBook.com recently had the chance to speak to Cruz all about getting the expectations that come with such a big show, how he got the part, and the new things Blue's Clues and You is bringing to the table, and we started the conversation talking about the surrealness that comes with hosting a show like Blue's Clues.

"Everyday is super surreal," Cruz said. "I do laugh to myself every day and I do catch myself singing to myself every day just because of how ridiculous it is that I get to do this job. I grew up in theater, or rather I went to school for theater and it wasn't until later in my career that I really wanted to pursue acting in television and I was fortunate enough to be able to work on Aladdin on Broadway, and now I get to do this as a job. It's a little bit ridiculous that I get to play dress up for a living and just be like maximum silly as my job. So I'm happier than I've ever been."

"The weird and surreal part is just that every night, now that the show is out, it is getting strange now that people are seeing our show that we worked on and that has been ours for so many months and now we're getting to share it," Cruz said. "But it's also super exciting because now kids are finally able to see this thing that we've been working on. So I'm super, super pumped. I have friends calling and texting me saying that their kids are going crazy, and so I couldn't be happier. But it definitely is a little strange. Every once in a while I'll get people asking me if I'm the guy, the Blues Clues guy, which I don't think I'll ever get used to. But everyone's really nice so lucky for that."

Blue's Clues is a beloved property amongst fans, so there will be some high expectations that come along with such a high profile role. Thankfully some of that pressure has been mitigated by the team around Cruz, along with the knowledge that the show and its characters still resonate with today's audience.

"I think especially because the team is so good, I guess the initial hesitation would be, oh man, how am I going to live up to what the show was and how are we going to like catch lightning in a bottle again? But in regards to Blues Clues, the formula is still so relevant today as far as talking to kids and empowering kids and giving them a voice," Cruz said. "So that we have that and the nostalgia factor is only working in our favor because now we have parents who grew up watching the show, they can watch with their kids actively, and relive that nostalgia and share something that they grew up with with their child who's going to love it."

"And specifically with Blues Clues, the creative team and Steve Burns, the original host and Donovan Patton, we are a part of a very, very unique family and they have been so supportive in making sure that I know they hired me because of they want me to be me, not Steve or Joe," Cruz said. "They want me to be my own unique person, and that has been really empowering for myself as well as a person of color coming into a role and it really not having to do anything with being Asian. It's really, really cool, so I'm excited. I don't think there is any sort of fear in my mind of will we live up to the past success of the show because as long as we keep being as honest and make sure that we are working so that we can leave kids better than when we found them and empower them, I think the show will always win. And Blue's just so darn cute. Especially now that she's 3D and super, super furry. So we have that going for it."

Speaking of Blue, the adorable pup is back and better than ever, as she is fully CGI now, which allows her to be even more animated than before. Working with a completely computer-generated partner does take a little getting used to though.

"It definitely takes some getting used to because Blue is a huge diva," Cruz said. "She's never on set when I'm on set. She's always filming her scenes after I'm done (laughs). But it's really, it's a lot of fun. We have an amazing crew up here in Toronto that, I'm normally acting to pieces of tape on the floor or on the wall, and Ashley Krantz, who is my on-set assistant, she is essentially every single part that isn't me, giving me all of my lines. She's my acting partner. She makes sure that I get through the day, and our hair and makeup, every single person on our team is incredible, and it trickles down from our creatives. They didn't bring back the show just because we should just bring it back. They brought back the show because they saw it as an opportunity to bring all the good things and all of the learning tools that Blue's Clues has at its disposal to help kids of this new generation learn how to have fun while they're learning and get them ready for preschool."

"Every single meeting, every read through that we've had, that is always the beginning, middle and end of our story is how are we affecting the kids," Cruz said. "And it's really inspiring to see a show that has so much integrity and that is its purpose and to have fun doing it. So it's really, really cool."

While there will be plenty of recognizable aspects from the past Blue's Clues shows, there will be some new elements as well, and one of the biggest innovations is the evolution of the Handy Dandy Notebook.

"The biggest thing that sticks out in my mind is the handy dandy notebook because now it's also a smart phone, so you have the functionality and nostalgia of the actual notebook, but now we can kind of explore video calls, which are even more personal than a regular phone call," Cruz said. "And now we can get emails and video letters, which is really, really exciting because we don't have to just imagine that this letter, this video message, we can place it into the world that these kids live in now. My nephew knows his way around an iPhone without anyone's help. He can order things and he's five. He can call people back and it's pretty funny, but this is the world that we live in, and to get kids to stay in that world is definitely important. We can't ignore it."

As fans saw in the first episode, Steve and Joe are still around in the world, and Cruz shared some advice he got from both former hosts of the show.

"Yeah, they said, it always comes back to when you're talking to the home viewer, they're a real person," Cruz said. "So whenever we're asking them a question, it's not just because, 'oh hey, you're here. Can you answer this question?' When we ask a question, they are the expert in the room. If we're talking about skateboarding, Steve said to me in the audition, 'if I ask them a question about skateboarding, they are Tony Hawk. They are the utmost expert in whatever question we're asking them.' That's important. Especially as a kid, you don't really get taken seriously a lot yet, especially your feelings and your points of view, so our show is amazing in that respect that we can give kids that power and that voice and really the safe space to make mistakes, which we don't really get in our everyday life."

"They told me that person is the most important person in the room," Cruz said. "So I'll envision, when I'm talking into the lens, I'll see, one of my nephews, kids of my best friends and an imaginary kid that's somewhere out there in the world, but it's a very specific person. And to give, ask a question and value their opinion and care about them. So that was the biggest takeaway that it's not just talking to a hypothetical person that might be there, there is someone there and they are listening and they are ready to answer your question."

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From Fox 4:

Blue's Clues and You


In 1996, Nickelodeon premiered the groundbreaking preschool series Blue's Clues. The show’s unique interactivity—in which viewers help energetic girl puppy Blue identify clues to solve a puzzle—helped change the way kids watch television and has remained one of the most popular preschool shows of all time.

Now, Blue and her crew are back in Nickelodeon’s remake, Blue’s Clues & You!, which features a brand-new live-action host Josh (Joshua Dela Cruz) alongside all-new CG animation and refreshed iconic items from the original series, such as an updated Handy Dandy Notebook. Joshua along with the creators of the original Blue’s Clues and Blue’s Clues & You!, Traci Paige Johnson and Angela Santomero, can discuss why Blue remains an iconic character in children’s television and what young viewers and their parents can expect from the new show.

Host Joshua Dela Cruz, who was inspired by the original Blue’s Clues to become an actor, recently appeared in Disney’s Broadway production of Aladdin, as well as CBS’ Bull and ABC’s Time After Time.

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From GQ:

The Real-Life Diet of the Surprisingly Swole Blue’s Clues Host Joshua Dela Cruz

When he’s not chatting with a three-dimensional Blue and fending off Twitter thirst, Dela Cruz is eating vegan and doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

This week, the newly launched Disney+ has given its subscribers a golden opportunity to zone out on all sorts of yesteryear's childhood classics. But Disney isn't the only network tapping into the nostalgia market—its cable TV frenemy, Nickelodeon, is striking back with Blue’s Clues and You, a reboot of the beloved early-aughts kids’ show, hosted this time around by the extremely fit (and child-friendly) Joshua Dela Cruz.

Blue’s Clues and You, which premiered on Monday, November 11, features a few tasteful updates to an otherwise faithful reproduction. The characters are now three-dimensional, but are blessedly sans CGI fur and look largely the same as before; the tunes have been reimagined, though their lyrics are unchanged; and a few SFW selfie sessions and FaceTimes have been sprinkled throughout to indicate that it's not the '90s anymore.

Dela Cruz—plucked from a five-year stint on the stage of Broadway’s Aladdin—is the face of this wonderfully pure operation. Unfortunately for Dela Cruz, the existence of social media means that mere moments after the reboot’s trailer first dropped, fully-grown adults on Twitter pointed out the large biceps under his iconic striped shirt.

To obtain said biceps, Dela Cruz maintains a strict vegan diet and squeezes in Crossfit-inspired gym sessions before and after work days. He bounces between New York (where his apartment is located) and Toronto (where the show shoots) with his real-life dog Ollie, who's a maltipoo mix. During off-seasons, Dela Cruz also makes sure to return to a Brazilian jiu-jitsu studio to work off some steam. Back in New York, Dela Cruz chatted about the going-vegan process, which he accomplished with his wife, why he thinks jiu-jitsu is comparable to yoga, and how food can bring people together.

GQ: After the casting for Blue’s Clues and You was announced and the first trailer dropped, there was a lot of thirsting after you on Twitter. Were you expecting that?

Joshua Dela Cruz: That was a huge surprise. When we film, I wake up early and I go to sleep early. So when I woke up, my phone had blown up, and it was a bunch of texts from my sisters. I was like, "I hope everything's okay, what's happening?" and I read a bunch of “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?” and then the link to the Twitter posts. I lost it. It's so flattering, but hilarious at the same time.

Now that you've gone viral and you're a kids’ television show host, what does your average day of work look like?

I’ll generally wake up around 4:30, have my first cup of coffee, go over script stuff, practice some guitar, and then by 5:30 I’m at the gym. My big workout day is Sunday, when I do chest and triceps. Monday is either a break day or cardio and abs. On Tuesday I do half of a Murph [a crossfit workout consisting of 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, and a mile run] minus the running, which I sub with elliptical work. Then Wednesday is shoulders and cardio, Thursday is another half-Murph, Friday is cardio and abs, and Saturday is back and triceps.


I imagine your current routine is different from what you did when you were performing on Broadway every night.

Energy-wise, they’re actually very similar, but I developed this routine because I have to sustain energy for many more hours on this current schedule. I'll do cardio at the end of the day because I can veg out on the elliptical, but it takes a little more attention and form when I'm doing weight and bodyweight stuff.

I also do cardio at night to mimic doing a show at night, because that's what my body is used to. For the past five years I would always be doing something active at night. During Aladdin, I also did Brazilian jiu-jitsu on the DL. I never called out because of an injury, but I unfortunately can't practice jiu-jitsu during filming, because I'm the only person that they film, and God forbid I break a finger falling down. In my off time I'll be able to get back into class. Jiu-jitsu is something that I really enjoy. I look at it as yoga, but, you know, people fight back. It's a lot more interesting than the weight room, because the weights are trying to choke you out.

A big part of yoga for a lot of people is the mental health benefits. Does that apply to jiu-jitsu as well?

Absolutely. Being in New York, you're kind of on guard all the time. You need to blow off some steam, and jiu-jitsu does that, because you're exhausted when you're wrestling, but it also teaches you to slow down. You can't muscle your way through a match. You really have to think and be present, and just take things as they come. That's one of the biggest benefits for me as an actor and a New Yorker—jiu-jitsu slows me down in a good way.

What’s your food regimen like?

My wife and I have been vegan for just over three years now. It was mainly for health at the time. There's cancer on both sides of my family and there's a history of neurodegenerative disease on her side of the family, so we just wanted to tune our bodies and be in the best place possible to have a fighting chance for whatever comes our way. And we found that veganism was that change for us. It's become a huge social and activist issue for us as well.

Was that a difficult transition?

We just cut everything out. I went into this whole swirl, like, "What am I gonna eat?" I previously supplemented my workouts with a lot of meat, protein, stuff like that. Being Filipino, you know, we love our pork. So that first day I just went out and ate a really delicious vegan meal somewhere. And I realized, "Oh, I can do this." We got a whole bunch of vegan cookbooks, and it was difficult at first because it's such a different way to cook. But now it's super easy. We're about 99 percent vegan—we still eat honey—but it's been a good three years.

I've never felt better. I definitely have more energy and I feel lighter. Before I went vegan, when I was doing Aladdin and would eat before the show, there were some meals where my body would just feel terrible. I was so slow, my mental acuity was not quite there, and I was sleepy. And when we changed to vegan, I would still eat a lot before the show so I was full, but I felt completely functional.

Any foods you really miss eating?

Thankfully, sugar is vegan. But, you know, meat is delicious. I miss pepperoni pizza and I definitely miss barbecue. Luckily, today, it's so much easier to get things that are similar-tasting if I really have a craving for junk food. My wife and I are cooking a lot more again now that we’re on the same diet. Cooking together or for each other has been really lovely. We make this heavenly butternut squash pizza with Miyoko's cheese. We make our own sauce, and it's such a great comfort food that we also put in the fridge and eat cold.

So veganism started as a health thing, but it became more about activism for you. How did that happen?

The environment and the corruption of the meat industry specifically have just become more and more difficult to ignore from a consumer's standpoint. I used to say that I would have cheat meals whenever there was an opportunity—like, I used to really want to go to Peter Luger's in Brooklyn and have a steak there. But I think that's changed in the last year-and-a-half. I don't think I'd go now.

I guess Pete Wells would say you’re on the right path.

I guess! He once came to our restaurant when I was working on the Lower East Side, at Back Forty. Being in that kitchen was like working at a theater every night.

Do you feel like working in restaurants influenced your relationship with food?

More than food, I think it influenced my relationship with people, because you get people on their good days, you get people on their bad days, and no matter what, everyone can come together for food. I loved Anthony Bourdain and his work, and that even when it came to interviewing and talking to people who clearly had different values and points of view than he did, they could come together over food and find commonality in that everyone is just trying to do their best. That kind of understanding is unfortunately often lost these days.

In addition to Blue, on the show, you also have a real-life dog that seems to be on set a lot when you’re filming. What can you tell me about him?


We've had Ollie for almost four-and-a-half years now. Now that I'm working up in Toronto and my wife Amanda's working in New York, Ollie travels a lot. We split the time together because he's such an important part of our lives as an emotional companion. He gives us a place to put our energy and love outside of our professional lives. So he is the on-set dog, and whenever I come back from New York without him, I can visibly see the disappointment in my coworkers' eyes.

He roams around the studio by himself. I recently found out that he likes to sit at the front door of the building, which is glass, watching people as they walk by. Whenever anybody walks up to the door he backs up, waits for the door to close, and then he goes back and people-watches. I had no idea he was wandering over there! So he pretty much has the run of the entire studio. He's very smart, and also very manipulative. He's like a velociraptor from Jurassic Park—he's figured out the doors.

Is Ollie also vegan?

No, Ollie's not a vegan. It's like living with a murderer.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Real-Life Diet is a series in which GQ talks to athletes, celebrities, and everyone in-between about their diets and exercise routines: what's worked, what hasn't, and where they're still improving. Keep in mind, what works for them might not necessarily be healthy for you.

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Update (9/12) - Vudu, the Walmart-owned ad supported streaming service, will exclusively debut the first three episodes of Blue's Clues & You on Friday, September 27, 2019, ahead of the show's premiere on Nickelodeon in November!

From Associated Press via The Day:

Meet the man picked to be host of the ‘Blue’s Clues’ reboot

Joshua Dela Cruz has gone from having a genie as a sidekick to a bright blue puppy — and he couldn’t be happier.

The actor is the host of a reboot of the pre-school TV show “Blue’s Clues” and hopes people who grew up on the original come to check it out with their kids.

“Now parents get to share a piece of their childhood, which is really exciting and only makes the learning that's happening onscreen that much stronger,” he said.

Dela Cruz comes to Nickelodeon’s “Blue’s Clues & You!” after a long stint in the Broadway musical “Aladdin,” where he understudied Iago as well as the title character and went on as Aladdin for three months.

“There was still something more that I wanted at that point. I’d been with the show for just about five years. And I wanted to use the gifts and the skills that I had learned to help someone,” he said. “And my agent sent me an audition for ‘Blue's Clues.’”

The original Nickelodeon show ran from 1996 to 2007, with a human host solving a puzzle by deciphering the meaning of Blue’s barks and paw prints — with assistance from young viewers chiming in with their thoughts.

The reboot hews close to the original, with the return of characters like Mailbox, Thinking Chair, Slippery Soap, Shovel and of course Blue, though the pup is being rendered by computer graphics. “She is furrier, she's more lovable,” he said.

Other changes include the addition of Handy Dandy Guitar and an update to Handy Dandy Notebook, which now has smartphone technology, allowing Dela Cruz and Blue to receive emails and video calls.

Former hosts Steve (Steve Burns) and Joe (Donovan Patton) returned for the first episode to help welcome Dela Cruz as the host. Burns helped pick Dela Cruz from an audition process that included over 3,000 hopefuls. He is the first Asian-American actor to become Blue’s companion, a responsibility not lost on him.

“I was talking to my friend and they said their kid was like, ‘Hey, he looks like me.’ And man, that hits you like a ton of bricks,” he said. “It hits you like a ton of bricks.”

Traci Paige Johnson, co-creator and co-executive producer of the original “Blue’s Clues” and the reboot, helped pick Dela Cruz, purposely widening the search to include Broadway performers because they can sing and dance and endure a grueling schedule.

She and her team went to see him in “Aladdin” and were wowed by what they saw him do onstage. But they were even more impressed by what they saw offstage.

“Some kids were backstage and he was just so lovely with them, so genuine. He got down to their level and spoke to them,” she said. “He just felt like the whole package.”

The 30-year-old Dela Cruz thinks “Blue’s Clues” is different than other shows geared toward children because it honestly asks audience members for help and it doesn’t ask them to be silent consumers.

“It's more of a transfer of power and authority to the home viewer, which is something as a kid, you don't usually get,” he said. “You're usually told to be quiet and listen. Our show gives us the opportunity as kids to voice our opinions and make mistakes, because that's a part of learning.”

Appearing on “Blue’s Clues” completes an unlikely circle for Dela Cruz, who as a youngster watched the show with his younger sister. The family didn’t have cable but whenever they’d sleep over at their aunt’s house, the pair would eagerly watch the blue dog. Dela Cruz even credits the catchy “Mail Song” with spurring his interest in singing.

He grew up in New Milford, New Jersey, with no intention of becoming an actor. “I had a very strong imagination growing up and I was the only boy sandwiched between two girls, so I would just kind of play by myself all the time and put myself in these wild situations and dream up these big stories.”

Advice from his older sister led him to audition for the high school musical and it was theater that helped him overcome his aversion to public speaking. Dela Cruz earned a bachelor’s in musical theater from Montclair State University in 2011.

His additional credits include “Here Lies Love” off-Broadway and Onscreen, he's appeared in ABC's “Time After Time” and CBS' “Bull.”

It was at college when he met his wife, the stage and TV actress Amanda Dela Cruz, who is currently appearing off-Broadway in “Jersey Boys.” Though he’s often away filming his show in Toronto, he’ll slip a picture of her — and their beloved dog Ollie — into his scripts.

“I'll look at those pictures and just kind of remember home,” he said. “I just get a little bit homesick. And when I see them, it just kind of brightens me up.”

He marvels that now he’s the host of a show he enjoyed years ago with his little sister, who is expecting her first child. (“All she wanted for her birthday one year was Handy Dandy Notebook,” he said.) When he told her he had landed the gig as the host of the “Blue’s Clues” reboot, it was a shock.

“It's not something that any of us really ever saw as a thing that could ever happen in our futures,” he said. “It's really wild.”

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From TVKIDS:

Blue’s Clues & You!’S Traci Paige Johnson & Angela C. Santomero

Traci Paige Johnson, who also provides the voice for Blue, and Angela C. Santomero spoke with TV Kids about Blue’s Clues’ origin story, why now was the right time to reboot the series and the importance of interactive programming for young viewers.

Twenty-three years since the original Blue’s Clues bowed on Nickelodeon (and then ran for six critically-acclaimed seasons) creators Traci Paige Johnson and Angela C. Santomero have ushered in an updated version of the series for today’s kids in the recently premiered Blue’s Clues & You! The remake once again follows the lovable pup Blue as she invites viewers to come along on clue-led adventures to solve a puzzle in each episode. In for Steve Burns as host is Joshua Dela Cruz, who first made a name for himself on Broadway in the titular role in Aladdin. Other updates include CG-animation for Blue and Magenta, a Handy Dandy Notebook with smartphone technology and new characters such as twins Sage and Ginger joining Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper, Tickety Tock, Mailbox and the original Thinking Chair. Further, Nickelodeon is deepening the interactivity in Blue’s Clues & You! with the launch of play-along videos on Noggin, Nick’s interactive learning subscription for preschoolers.

Blue’s Clues & You! debuted on Nickelodeon on Monday, November 11. NickJr.com and the Nick Jr. app will feature original short-form content and full-length episodes following their airing. Episodes will also be available on Nick Jr. On Demand and via download-to-own services.

TV KIDS: How did the original idea for Blue’s Clues come about? I read that originally the show was going to be called Blue’s Prints and that Blue was meant to be a cat?

JOHNSON: Yes! Nickelodeon was at the height of doing game shows like Double Dare. When they started their preschool [network], Nick Jr., they wanted to do a game show for preschoolers. So that was kind of the impetus for, how do we do a game show for preschoolers? Because we knew we couldn’t have live-action preschoolers running around. Angela Santomero was in the research department of Nickelodeon, and the research they were looking at had some ideas of kids really talking back to the screen—if you take a pause, and kind of break that interaction. We took that idea and had a game show where the games are organically built into the stories of the show. We also knew that a live-action host garnered much more interaction than an animated character. You know that when someone breaks that wall and leans in and talks to you, from seeing Mister Rogers, how powerful that is and how empowering that is. So we kind of married the two together. We also knew we wanted to create something breakthrough in the sense of feeling fresh and new, something that’s never been done before. We were the first show to be animated on Macintosh computers with cut-out animation and having a live-action host in that animated environment, and all those elements together and having real music by real jazz musicians too. All those ingredients made the perfect recipe for a hit.

SANTOMERO: We were so into the idea that it was the “blueprints” for child development; we were very into our educational point of view and philosophy, which we still stand by. I can’t remember the quote, but it was like, Kids are calling it Blue’s Clues. You can call it whatever you want, but kids will call it Blue’s Clues. So I like to think that the kids named the show just like the kids in general run the show, which is why the new show, the new iteration is Blue’s Clues & You! We’re making a real point of going through the screen as much as possible—as much if not more so than we did in the original series. To create the sense that [the kids] are a main character in the show, that they’re playing along. The whole idea was to do something that looked really different, and putting a live-action character in an animated environment looked really different than anything on TV, which I still think it does. And then the idea that we incorporated CG for the new iteration took us up another notch. And then playing with the educational point of view, and then the three clues, critical thinking plus kindergarten-readiness skills. We wanted to meld all of those things together. We talked about it changing the way kids watch TV because they’re a main character.

TV KIDS: Why did now feel like the right time to reintroduce Blue’s Clues, to bring it back for a new audience of children?

JOHNSON: For one, a lot of kids who grew up with Blue’s Clues or whose siblings grew up with Blue’s Clues are starting to have kids of their own. With the landscape the way it is now, with so much streaming and so much choice, well-loved brands have been coming back—shows like Will & Grace and Roseanne. We were always talking to Nickelodeon about bringing it back. And the timing seems right now. Also, with the state of the world, just having the comfort of things you loved as a kid coming back. It’s just a loving force of good coming back out. We couldn’t be more thrilled about how well-received it’s been. It can be a little scary bringing back something that had such a big fan base. Like how Star Wars or Star Trek comes out and everybody is kind of picking it apart, but so far so good. We think that we kept the balance of keeping the classic but introducing the fresh. Blue is now CG-animated so she looks more fluffy and huggable than ever. A lot of work and research when into the Handy Dandy Notebook phone. We wanted to keep the classic and the fine motor skills of drawing for preschoolers. We didn’t want to make it all digital but we knew that tablets and smartphones are in preschoolers’ environment and everyday world, so [we wanted] to kind of meld that together.

SANTOMERO: It’s the perfect time because our original audience is in their mid-20s, so they’re either having kids of their own or there’s that level of nostalgia there that can kind of escort us back into the new series. There’s really still nothing like it on TV, so the timing just seems so right for that generation, and Nickelodeon knew that and noticed that and asked us if we wanted to do it again.

TV KIDS: For the new series, you’ve refreshed some of the show’s more iconic elements. What was important for you to keep similar to the original and what did you think the show needed to appeal to today’s kids?

JOHNSON: Even though we wanted to keep the iconic stripes of Blue’s Clues, just refreshing it. Instead of green, going to blue, which kind of just pops. And then the Handy Dandy Notebook is one, again wanting to be more modern, but keeping true to the original show. But also that preschoolers should know, nothing trumps crayon and paper, drawing and thinking through those things. And the Thinking Chair, we knew we wanted to keep that the same. A lot of the songs we kept and then some we kind of refreshed, but still in that same vein of original Blue’s Clues’ musical style.

SANTOMERO: We knew that the host was going to be new and different, and so already that was such a huge piece—finding the anchor to our show, finding Josh was really important to make sure that we’re representing kids today. What are we doing? What are we saying? Asking all of these questions. We’d always ask why now? Why this show now? Josh was definitely an answer to that. And then the idea of opening the script up and basically acknowledging that the first episode premiered 23 years ago and so playing a little bit there was really important for us. And then updating the look to include CG Blue and Magenta. And then for Traci and I, the notebook is a good meld because it’s the back-to-basics where we still have the crayon and the yellow paper—because you use a notebook your whole life and need to learn how to write things down to remember them. But also a smartphone, like the idea that there’s a visual device that when Salt and Pepper call us from the kitchen, we can see that. Or when we get a letter, sometimes Mailbox brings the letter and sometimes Mailbox comes in and tells us that we’ve got an email and it’s visual. We’re just kind of using a level of technology that means something to preschoolers and then playing with that.

TV KIDS: And how did you go about finding the right new edition in Joshua Dela Cruz?

JOHNSON: Nickelodeon pulled out all the stops. It was about a six-month process. We had an open-call process at Nickelodeon Studios. They went out all over the country, not just to the major cities, but little small towns and people could send in tapes. We kind of whittled and whittled and whittled and it was when it was like the last five. We had been very excited to have Steve Burns, the original host [back]. He’s a consulting producer on the show, also a director and writer. He really was integral in helping us find Josh, and when we were doing the last callbacks, he was actually helping direct them and giving them tools of how to talk to the camera and kind of creating that space, that wonderful world of Blue’s Clues. It was such a thrill to see [the actors] because we didn’t tell them he was going to be there and he would kind of pop off. After they did a take, he would pop off and start giving notes and the look on their faces when they finally realized who that was. It was fantastic. It was a great candid-camera moment.

SANTOMERO: Between Traci and I and Nickelodeon and Steve, we saw 3,000 people. But I think the most important part was workshopping. Literally taking some scripts and playing with them with the actors and actresses that came in. And really trying to see their connection to the home viewer. And at the end of the day, Josh not only had musical talent and plays the guitar and can dance and can sing, but his connection through the camera to the home viewer is like nothing else. He just makes you smile and he makes you feel important because he wants to know what you think. That was the best part.

TV KIDS: This time around, the show is going to have a bit more interactivity with play-along videos. Was that always a part of the plan in bringing the show back? And do you find that it’s more important than ever to have that sort of element in kids’ TV?

JOHNSON: Absolutely. Play-along video, that’s kind of what we meant Blue’s Clues to be and the technology kind of caught up with us. This is going to be the first time there’s going to be a live-action person. Usually, those play-along episodes or play-along videos are all animated, but they’ve worked out and created a whole technology where they have Josh on there, so he’ll be on camera and you can interact with him in a physical way. At the end, when Josh is doing the think through, those clues that [the kids] drew are the ones that appear overhead. That ownership that the kids have is so empowering for that audience. It’s so engaging. It’s just been incredible. All the new technology that exists is just fantastic, so we’re excited about all of that.

SANTOMERO: By right now, we thought we’d have interactive TV, where Josh would literally hear what you’re saying. Like come on, how is it not quite there yet? [Laughs] Play-along video was the answer. Watching that and being able to have kids intuitively and literally interact is so frickin’ exciting for us. We love that. And also, to make sure that when we’re shooting the show and when Josh is talking to the camera that we’re pulling elements even further into interactivity. The home viewer takes a photo for Josh, where we’re part of it and doing things in addition to what we’re able to do in play-along. I’m all about active participation. I don’t believe that kids are couch potatoes ever. Kids are active and learning and thinking and we just need to give them time to answer and talk with us and show that we are listening and to show that we care. Having an engaging piece, whether it’s a show that makes you think about something and then you play it later or makes you think differently about the world. I went into media to change the world for kids, which sounds big and huge and crazy. But the truth is, if we could elevate that for even one child, we would have done our job, right?

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From TVNIÑOS:

Traci Paige Johnson y Angela Santomero creadoras de Blue’s Clues & You!

Han pasado 23 años desde que el Blue’s Clues originaldebutó en Nickelodeon y posteriormente emitió seis temporadas aclamadas por la crítica. Las creadores de la serie, Traci Paige Johnson y Angela C. Santomero, presentaron una versión renovada de la serie infantil, bajo el título de Blue’s Clues & You! La nueva versión sigue una vez más al adorable cachorro Blue, que en cada episodio invita a los pequeños a participar en aventuras con pistas para poder resolver un rompecabezas. En lugar del presentador original Steve Burns, Joshua Dela Cruz ha tomado su lugar, quien previamente logró el estrellato en Broadway en el papel protagónico de Aladdin. La nueva serie cuenta con animación CG para Blue y Magenta, un Handy Dandy Notebook con tecnología de teléfonos inteligentes y nuevos personajes como los gemelos Sage y Ginger acompañando al Sr. Salt y la Sra. Pepper, Tickety Tock, Mailbox y la Thinking Chair original. Además, Nickelodeon está expandiendo la interactividad de Blue’s Clues & You! con el lanzamiento de videos en Noggin, el servicio por suscripción de aprendizaje interactivo para preescolares de Nick.

Blue’s Clues & You! debutó en Nickelodeon el 11 de noviembre. NickJr.com y la aplicación Nick Jr. presentarán contenido original de formato corto y episodios completos después de su transmisión. Los episodios también estarán disponibles en Nick Jr. On Demand y a través de servicios de descarga con opción decompra.

Johnson, quien también hace la voz de Blue, y Santomero conversan con TV Niños sobre el origen de Blue’s Clues, por qué fue el momento oportuno para lanzar la nueva versión y la importancia de la programación interactiva para las pequeñas audiencias.

TV NIÑOS: ¿Cómo surgió la idea original para Blue’s Clues? Leí que originalmente el show se llamaría Blue’s Prints y que Blue sería un gato.

JOHNSON: ¡Sí! Nickelodeon estaba realizando game shows como Double Dare. Cuando lanzaron su canal preescolar Nick Jr., querían hacer un game show para preescolares. Entonces nos preguntamos, ¿cómo podíamos realizar un game show para ellos? Angela Santomero estaba en el departamento de investigación de Nickelodeon donde analizaron algunas ideas con los niños interactuando con la pantalla. Tomamos esa idea y realizamos un game show donde los juegos estaban integrados orgánicamente en las historias. También sabíamos que un presentador real lograría mucha más interacción que un personaje animado. Además, queríamos crear algo innovador que nunca se había hecho. Fue el primer show en ser animado en computadoras Macintosh con un presentador real en un ambiente animado, además de presentar música jazz compuesta de artistas reales. Todos esos ingredientes se combinaron perfectamente para este éxito.

SANTOMERO: Teníamos la idea de que el show era un plan para el desarrollo infantil. Nos concentramos mucho en nuestro punto de vista educativo y filosofía. Recuerdo que nos decían que los niños llamaban al show Blue’s Clues. Nos dijeron que podíamos nombrarlo con cualquier título, pero que los niños lo llamarían Blue’s Clues. Entonces me gusta pensar que fueron los niños quienes le pusieron el nombre al show y que también son los conductores del programa.

Buscamos crear la sensación de que ellos son los protagonistas del programa e interactúan con él. La idea era hacer algo diferente, con un personaje de acción en vivo en un entorno animado que fuera distinto, algo que no se había visto en televisión. El haber incorporado CG en la nueva versión también aumentó la calidad. Quisimos combinar el punto de vista educativo, las tres pistas y el pensamiento crítico para preescolares. Hablamos sobre cambiar la forma en que los niños ven la televisión puesto que son los protagonistas.

TV NIÑOS: ¿Por qué fue el momento oportuno para relanzar Blue’s Clues y presentarlo a la audiencia infantil?

JOHNSON: Por un lado, muchos niños que crecieron con Blue’s Clues o cuyos hermanos crecieron con Blue’s Clues están empezando a tener sus propios hijos. En el panorama actual, con tanto streaming y diversas opciones, las marcas entrañables han regresado. Siempre conversamos con Nickelodeon para presentar el programa nuevamente. No podríamos estar más entusiasmados con lo bien que ha sido recibido. Puede ser un poco aterrador relanzar algo que tenía una gran base de fanáticos. Creemos que mantuvimos el equilibrio de mantener lo clásico, pero presentamos lo nuevo. Blue ahora está animado por CG, por lo que se ve más adorable que nunca. Se realizó mucho trabajo e investigación en el teléfono Handy Dandy Notebook. Queríamos mantener las habilidades motrices clásicas y finas del dibujo para preescolares. No queríamos que todo fuera digital, pero sabíamos que las tabletas y los teléfonos inteligentes forman parte de la cotidianidad de los preescolares, por lo que [queríamos] combinar esa área.

SANTOMERO: Es el momento perfecto porque nuestra audiencia original está en sus 20, ya tienen sus hijos o existe ese sentimiento de nostalgia que nos genera el regreso de la serie. Todavía no hay nada similar en televisión, por lo que el momento parece oportuno para esa generación, y Nickelodeon lo sabía y se dio cuenta de eso y nos preguntó si queríamos hacerlo de nuevo.

TV NIÑOS: Para la nueva serie han renovado algunos de los elementos más icónicos del programa. ¿Qué fue importante mantener igual al original y qué necesitaba para atraer a los niños de hoy?

JOHNSON: Queríamos mantener los elementos icónicos de Blue’s Clues, pero solamente renovarlos. En lugar de verde, es azul, que simplemente resalta mucho más. Y el Handy Dandy Notebook cuenta con un toque más moderno, pero es fiel al programa original. Pero también los preescolares deben saber, que no hay nada mejor que el crayón y papel, dibujando y pensando en esas cosas. Y con la Thinking Chair, sabíamos que queríamos mantenerla igual. muchas de las mismas canciones y otras las renovamos, pero en el mismo estilo musical original de Blue’s Clues.

SANTOMERO: Sabíamos que el presentador iba a ser nuevo y diferente. Encontrar al presentador de nuestro programa, a Josh, era importante para representar a los niños de hoy en día. ¿Qué estamos haciendo?, ¿qué estamos diciendo?, ¿por qué realizar este show en este momento? Josh definitivamente fue una respuesta a eso. Fue importante jugar con la idea de que el primer capítulo debutó hace 23 años, al igual que actualizar el aspecto visual con CG azul y magenta.

TV NIÑOS: ¿Cómo fue el proceso de selección para la nueva adaptación con Joshua Dela Cruz?

JOHNSON: Nickelodeon lo organizó. Fue un proceso de seis meses. Tuvimos una convocatoria abierta en Nickelodeon Studios. Viajaron por todo el país, no sólo a las principales ciudades, sino también a pequeños pueblos. Las personas que podían enviar sus videos. Hicimos una selección y proceso de eliminación hasta quedar con cinco potenciales presentadores. También fue emocionante contar con Steve Burns, el presentador original, quien es un productor asesor en el show, además de director y escritor. Fue una gran apoyo en ayudarnos a encontrar a Josh. Fue muy emocionante ver [a los actores] porque no les dijimos que él iba a estar allí. Fue fantástico. Fue un momento sincero frente a la cámara.

SANTOMERO: Entre Traci, Nickelodeon, Steve y yo vimos a 3 mil personas. Pero creo que la parte más importante fue el trabajo realizado. Trabajamos los guiones con los actores y actrices que llegaron. Quisimos ver su conexión con el espectador. Al final del día, Josh no sólo tenía talento musical para tocar la guitarra, bailar y cantar, sino también que su conexión con el espectador fue increíble. Te hace sonreír y sentir importante porque quiere saber lo que piensas. Esa fue la mejor parte.

TV NIÑOS: La nueva versión tendrá más de interactividad. ¿Siempre fue parte del plan para el nuevo show?, ¿cree que es más importante tener ese tipo de elemento en la televisión infantil?

JOHNSON: Absolutamente. Siempre quisimos que Blue’s Clues fuera interactivo y finalmente la tecnología brindó esa posibilidad. Esta será la primera vez que habrá una persona real. Por lo general, todos los episodios participativos o videos interactivos son animaciones, pero han funcionado y creado toda una tecnología en la que tienen a Josh allí, por lo que estará en la cámara y podrás interactuar con él. Al final cuando Josh esté pensando, las pistas que los niños dibujaron son las que aparecen después. Esa participación que tienen los niños es tan poderosa para la audiencia. Es muy atractiva. Simplemente ha sido increíble. Toda la nueva tecnología que existe es fantástica, por lo que estamos entusiasmados con todo eso.

SANTOMERO: En este momento, pensamos que tendríamos televisión interactiva, donde Josh literalmente escucharía lo que estás diciendo. ¿Es en serio?, ¿cómo es que todavía no existe? El video participativo fue la respuesta. Ver eso y poder hacer que los niños interactúen de manera intuitiva es muy emocionante para nosotros. Para asegurarnos de que cuando estamos filmando el programa y cuando Josh está hablando con la cámara, estamos llevando elementos a otro nivel de interactividad. Me interesa la participación activa. No creo que los niños estén adictos a la televisión. Los niños son activos, aprenden y piensan, y sólo tenemos que darles tiempo para responder y hablar con nosotros y demostrar que estamos escuchando y mostrarles que nos importan. Tener un producto atractivo, ya sea un programa que te hace pensar en algo y más tarde juegas con él o te hace pensar de manera diferente sobre el mundo es importante. Incursioné en los medios para cambiar el mundo infantil, lo que puede sonar enorme y loco. Pero la verdad es que si pudiéramos hacerlo incluso para un solo niño, habríamos hecho nuestro trabajo, ¿verdad?

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From the South Bend Tribune:

Saint Joseph High alum who co-created 'Blue's Clues' helps reboot it for a new generation


Blue appears in a handout photo from 2000. “Blue’s Clues” has been rebooted as “Blue’s Clues & You! and premiered Nov. 11 on Nickelodeon. Both shows were co-created by Saint Joseph High School and “Beyond Our Control” alumna Traci Paige Johnson.

At 10 years old in the early ’80s, sitting at her desk in Eggleston Elementary School, Traci Paige Johnson would draw the same thing over and over: a goofy-looking cartoon dog, with droopy ears and a big nose.

More than 15 years later, that whimsical doodle would come to life on screen as the basis for Blue, the lovable blue dog that creates puzzles for her human — and viewers — to solve in “Blue’s Clues.” Johnson, who grew up in South Bend, co-created the hit educational children’s show for Nickelodeon in 1996, where it ran until 2006. She helped conceive the show’s unique cut-out animation style and also voiced Blue’s puppy voice: “ba-bow!”

Now, Blue is skidoo-ing back onto screens small and large in “Blue’s Clues & You!”

Developed by Johnson and co-creator Angela Santomero, the reboot premiered Nov. 11 with new host Joshua Dela Cruz, as well as cameo appearances from former hosts and “cousins” Steve Burns (“Steve”) and Donovan Patton (“Joe”).

Johnson moved to South Bend with her family when she was in fifth grade — “so, I consider myself a Bend-er,” she says on the phone from New York City. She had just returned from Toronto, where the team is already shooting a second season of the show.

Johnson graduated from Saint Joseph High School in 1987 and cut her teeth in television production as a teenager while working on “Beyond Our Control,” WNDU-TV’s long-running Junior Achievement-sponsored sketch comedy show produced by high school students.

Her time at “Beyond Our Control” “blossomed my love for television,” she says. “It made me want to study TV.” While working on the show, Johnson also met her future husband: Bob Mowen, an ’85 Clay High School graduate and South Bend native.

She went on to study television at Northwestern University and then worked as a freelance animator. She, Santomero and a third co-creator, Todd Kessler, pitched “Blue’s Clues” to Nickelodeon as an educational and interactive show for kids, in the vein of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

In recent years, in a bid to compete for millennials’ nostalgia in a streaming era, Nickelodeon has revived some greatest hits, including a revamped “All That.” “I think the planets were just aligned for this one,” Johnson says.

Now, Dela Cruz dons a blue, two-toned striped shirt, reminiscent of Steve’s iconic green one. He sings and plays a guitar in the new, flashier intro song, before launching into the show’s traditional structure.

Each episode, Blue poses one question that Josh must answer using the three “clues” that Blue provides, in the form of a blue paw print. (In the premiere, it’s a paper straw, a cup and a cow. Spoiler alert: Blue wants a glass of milk with her snack, please.)

“Blue’s Clues & You!” uses CGI to render Blue and her friends — including Mailbox, Slippery Soap, Shovel, Pail and the all-important Thinking Chair — as more 3D.

“We still wanted (the show) to have that same simple, cutout-style charm,” Johnson says. “Once we started experimenting, we loved how lovely and huggable and adorable (Blue) was.”

In a nod to preschoolers’ ever-changing world, Josh’s Handy Dandy notebook has been upgraded: He now flips it around to reveal a smartphone on the back, which he uses to check email and video call with former hosts Steve and Joe.

Johnson knows that rebooted classics don’t always stick the landing. She remembers being aggravated with the 2005 remake of the 1971 classic “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” for instance. “We were very strategic how we did it,” she says. “I guess we just got the balance right.”

“There don’t seem to be any haters,” Johnson continues. “Everyone just seems to be embracing it with open arms.”

With Dela Cruz as the show’s first Filipino host, “Blue’s Clues & You!” also intends to be a more inclusive show than ever.

Out of the more than 3,000 people that auditioned for the role, Johnson says, Dela Cruz stood out for his acting chops (he previously starred in “Aladdin” on Broadway) and his natural ability to connect with children. When Josh belts out a song in a rebooted episode, Steve and Joe trade incredulous glances. “It’s like, ‘Holy moly, this guy is way better (at singing) than we are!’” Johnson says.

“We also love that he’s exploded as a thirst trap,” she adds with a laugh. (In August, a black-and-white photo of a shirtless Dela Cruz went viral on Twitter, prompting People to list him as a “sexiest newcomer of the year” and GQ to interview him about his workout routine.)

Dela Cruz’s internet fame speaks to something else that’s new this time around — many of the show’s most eager viewers are millennials who watched “Blue’s Clues” growing up and now watch with children of their own.

“I feel like, in the political landscape, or the world landscape, with everything that’s going on, it’s so nice to have this shot of good energy,” Johnson says. “It’s like cuddling up in a nice warm blanket.”

When “Blue’s Clues” premiered in 1996, the show stood out for its use of quiet space. “That pause” — the four-second beat after Steve asks his child viewers a question — “really made us famous,” Johnson says.

Now, “the pendulum has kind of swung back again, where everything is just very loud and fast flashing on so many screens,” Johnson says. “It feels like we’re being breakthrough again.”

“It’s like ‘Alright everyone, let’s just pause, and listen,’” she says with a laugh. “I feel like adults need it even more than kids these days.”

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More Nick: Nickelodeon Announces First Licensing Partners for 'Blue’s Clues & You!'!

Originally titled: Nickelodeon’s Brand-new Preschool Series 'Blue’s Clues & You!' Bows Monday, Nov. 11, at 9 A.M. (ET/PT).

Originally published: Monday, August 26, 2019 at 19:28 BST.

Press release via Business Wire; H/T: TheWrap; Additional sources: ComicBook, Deadline, Nickandmore!, Anime Superhero Forum /@kanc.
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