‘Blue’s Clues’ host checks in after ‘Quiet on Set,’ making grown fans emotional

Steve Burns of 'Blue's Clues' waves while clad in a green striped scarf, green jacket and light brown baseball cap
Steve Burns, who starred on Nick Jr.’s “Blue’s Clues” from 1996 to 2002, paused to “listen” on TikTok to the show’s grown fans this week in the wake of the four-part “Quiet on Set” docuseries about Nickelodeon culture.
(Charles Sykes / Invision / Associated press)

Former “Blue’s Clues” host Steve Burns has conducted therapeutic check-ins with his TikTok followers occasionally since 2021 — but a recent upload hit viewers harder than usual.

This week, Investigation Discovery released a four-part docuseries, “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV,” which revealed the toxic culture behind some of the most popular Nickelodeon shows of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

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For many who were raised on the network’s programs, the documentary revised previously rosy childhood memories.


In a video, uploaded Thursday, Burns asks viewers with a knowing gaze, “Hey, I’m checking in. Tell me, what’s going on?”

Then, for nearly a minute, he nods quietly as though listening to them respond. As the video draws to a close, he says a simple “OK,” and after one last pause finishes with, “All right, well, it’s good to hear from you. And you look great, by the way.”

The TikTok now has more than 3.5 million views, and nearly 30,000 users have left comments expressing everything from despair to gratitude.

“After the Nickelodeon documentary Steve all I need is my blues clues to save whatever is left of this childhood I once had,” one user wrote.

“Steve checking up on the now grown up kids he left behind is another level of full circle moment,” another penned.

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While some shared what they had said to their screens, others admitted they couldn’t do anything but cry.


Resharing the video on X (formerly Twitter), one fan wrote, “Steve from Blues Clues posting this after the Nickelodeon documentary, he knew exactly what we needed.” The post has since garnered thousands of retweets.

Burns led “Blue’s Clues” from the show’s premiere on Nick Jr. in 1996 until 2002, when viewers were told his character was leaving for college.

Conspiracy theories surrounding Burns’ departure abounded, but in the end, the truth was not so complicated.

“It was just simply time to go,” Burns told the Huffington Post in 2016. “I was pretty much playing a boyish, older-brotherish kind of character on the show. I was getting older; I was losing my hair; a lot of the original gangsters on the show, like the people who created it, were all moving on to other careers. It just felt like time.”

It was only after he left that he began to confront some harder truths about that season of his life, he told Variety in 2022.

“I didn’t know it yet, but I was the happiest depressed person in North America,” Burns said. “I was struggling with severe clinical depression the whole time I was on that show. It was my job to be utterly and completely full of joy and wonder at all times, and that became impossible.


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“I was always able to dig and find something that felt authentic to me that was good enough to be on the show,” he said, “but after years and years of going to the well without replenishing it, there was a cost.”

After what Burns called “a long period of healing” following his exit from the children’s show, he recently returned to the “Blue’s Clues” universe in the Paramount+ revival series “Blue’s Clues and You,” which debuted in 2019, and the 2022 movie “Blue’s Big City Adventure.”

Since reentering the public eye, he told Variety, he has taken great delight in speaking to college students about mental health and the resources he sought out to improve his own.

“Steve became my role model,” Burns said of his character from the show, “because he was not afraid to ask for help.”