Attention, kids, parents and salt and pepper shakers: The wait is over. Nickelodeon just figured out “Blue’s Clues.”
After a long search by the media company, Filipino-American actor Joshua Dela Cruz, a Broadway star from various productions including “Aladdin,” has been announced as the new “Blue’s Clues” host to helm the updated series “Blue’s Clues & You.”
And now he and OG host Steve Burns are here to clue us in.
Nickelodeon enlisted Burns, who hosted the original 1996 series, to help find the new host for the show, and, according to him, Dela Cruz gets “two thumbs up” and “can definitely fill my shoes, and the rugby shirt.”
The new series, which is already picked up for 20 episodes, sounds a lot like the old one. According to the press release:
In “Blue’s Clues & You,” beloved puppy Blue invites viewers to join her and the live action host on a clue led adventure and solve a daily puzzle. With each signature paw print, Blue identifies clues in her animated world that propel the story and inspires viewers to interact with the action.
But we’ve been sitting in our thinking chair this whole time and still have so many questions.
Will there be a handy dandy notebook? Will Josh be as excited as Steve was to get the mail? Is Blue, you know, still the original Blue? (It’s been a long time since 1996. That’s all we’re saying.)
Thankfully, Burns and Dela Cruz jumped on the phone with us to answer all questions and solve any mysteries.
As the new host of “Blue’s Clues,” what should we know about you?
Josh Dela Cruz: I am super, super silly. That’s probably the biggest thing about me. I am a clown among my friends. I have terrible dad jokes, so you can expect me to bring all of that humor to the learning and curriculum.
How long has this been a secret?
Steve Burns: It doesn’t feel like you’ve been … cast for all that long. It wasn’t so much a secret as it was the process of finding the host. I know that they saw thousands and thousands of people. And when we saw Josh, I turned to everyone and said we can start filming tomorrow. He was phenomenal from Day One. And I’m here to tell you it’s not an easy job. It’s technically demanding, and it requires incredible strength of imagination. And that’s something I think Josh brings to this that’s so important. Imagination and authenticity ― those are the two major requisites for the role, and he has them big time.
And of course, you obviously beat out John Cena. How do you feel about that?
Dela Cruz: You know what, I would love to work out with John Cena. At the end of this, if he’s OK about it, I would love to do that. I don’t think that I’ll ever be able to touch John Cena’s career ever because he is amazing and like a comedy god.
Burns: Can I speak to that for one second? Cena, if you’re out there. All right. You’re ducking me? OK, I threw down the gauntlet and crickets. What does that say?
Burns: How wonderful would it be if this actually ends up with me wrestling John Cena?
Dela Cruz: It would be amazing!
Burns: And then I could tag Josh in and you’d save me again.
The big question is what would be your walkout song?
Burns: Oh, wow. “Mail Time.”
Dela Cruz: I’m really feeling “Thunderstruck.” Oh, “Mail Time”! Ohhhh!
Oh, my God!
Burns: Oh, absolutely “Mail Time.”
Please do “Mail Time.” I was gonna say the goodbye song, “Now it’s time for so long,” but that’d be great, too.
Burns: Well that’s for you to sing after, but the lights go down. Mail time …
Now this brings up some really important questions, Josh, how excited are you when the mail comes?
Dela Cruz: I’m incredibly excited. It’s the song that kind of kick-started my career. … I was a quiet kid growing up. Well, that’s not entirely true. In preschool, I was a very talkative kid. I used to get in trouble a lot, and I remember one time I was talking when the teacher said everyone has to be quiet, and I was made an example of, and it wasn’t a bad thing. I understand what was happening, and I understand the teacher wanted to keep order in the classroom, but I remember receding a lot after that, and I became very quiet and very shy. And when “Blue’s Clues” came around ― and, granted, I was not the target audience when the show came out ― I was watching it with my little sister at my aunt’s house because she had Nickelodeon, and we didn’t have cable, and it was like the best thing ever. And I would watch with my little sister, who would play along. I would play along in my mind but ... when “Mail Time” came along, I had never really sung out loud before, and because of the “Mail Time” song, I started singing out loud. And that led to me really enjoying singing. I mean the last note that Steve hit: “Mail Timmmme.” He was doing [a Grover voice], but in my mind he was doing opera.
Burns: I’ve heard some of that story. I’ve not heard all of that story, and that is awesome. That is fantastic.
So obviously you emulated a lot of Steve. What about his drawing skills in the handy dandy notebook, and will you be rocking the custom green rugby shirt Steve wore so well all those years.
Dela Cruz: Questions that I would love to answer, but I can’t. You’re gonna have to tune in and find out. I just promise you that ... everyone on the team has been really supportive about me being me and being comfortable in what I’m wearing. As far as drawing, Steve had the handy dandy notebook on the show and my little sister … wanted a handy dandy notebook and of course she had it, and I stole it and kept drawing in it. Most of my life, I thought I wanted to be an illustrator, and now that that’s so far removed from me, I’m like, you don’t want me drawing. It’s not my ministry. But I love drawing, and I remember “Blue’s Clues” encapsulated everything that I love: curiosity, the adventure of going to new places, skiddooing into a picture, exercising your imagination, being able to sing and dance and be silly, and then to draw on top of that, it was magic for somebody that wasn’t supposed to be watching the show.
Burns: What we can tell you is we’re still finalizing a lot of the questions you were asking, but Josh will certainly have some signature look, and it will certainly be infinitely cooler than the way I looked. There will be a notebook, but it will be much handier and remarkably more dandy. He will get the mail every day with technological updates, so all the stuff you expect to be there will be there in a different way.
Blue possibly using an iPhone? That’d be interesting.
Burns: Yes. [Laughs]
So it’s been more than two decades since the show. Is this still the original Blue, or are we dealing with Blue’s puppies?
Burns: Blue is a magical, felt-created, puzzle-solving puppy, so I think she is ageless.
Dela Cruz: I would say so, especially a magical puppy. I have a dog that I love very much that is 3 years old, but as hard as I try, he will never be able to skiddoo into a picture and take us on a free vacation.
The last time we saw Steve, he was off to college. What are the chances he stops by to hang out with his new buddy Josh?
Burns: Oh, man, I don’t know. That does sound fun though. I don’t know what that would look like. It does sound hilarious.
Dela Cruz: I would love if Steve came on the show, but he has prepared me, so we’re gonna start shooting soon, and what they did, which was wonderful for me, was they gave me some coaching time with Steve. So Steve was my Jedi master in the auditions and he was helping me, prepping me, making sure I actually talked to the person on the other side of the camera. It was one of the most mind-blowing things when he said, “When you’re asking a question you’re not asking the kid because they’re there. You’re asking the kid because if you’re talking about skateboarding, they’re the Tony Hawk.” I remember my mind just exploded. Oh, my gosh, that makes so much sense. That’s the importance. We’re usually talked down to as kids or told to be quiet, but to really be asked by an adult, “Well, what do you think?” That’s so, so powerful, and Steve being my Yoda throughout this entire thing has been such a gift, so we’ll see what the season has in store.
Burns: You know, and Yoda really is the correct metaphor. I’m smaller, much older.
Dela Cruz: Get out of here. [Laughs]
Burns: I’m balder … and I’m indelibly associated with the color green.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.