PBS Kids announced on January 5 that they are officially dropping the Canadian animated series Caillou from the channel’s daily programming lineup, thereby concluding the show’s twenty-year continuous run on the air, as reported by TV Line. Caillou‘s final broadcast occurred on December 27, 2020, according to Comic Book Resources. The network’s decision has been called a “cancellation” despite the fact that no new episodes of Caillou have been produced since the autumn of 2010.
News of the program’s exit from the public television airwaves broke via the PBS Kids Twitter account. The tweet provides a link to an article by media researcher Dr. Eric Rasmussen (Media Maze) about how parents can address a child’s disappointment about a familiar show’s conclusion.
— PBS KIDS (@PBSKIDS) January 5, 2021
Caillou made its debut in Canada in 1997, three years prior to its arrival in the U.S. and the original broadcasts were in French. The show was based on a series of children’s books by writer Christine L’Heureux (Caillou Meets a Princess) and illustrator Hélène Desputeaux (Melinda’s No’s Cold). The main inspiration for the books was reportedly the work of controversial psychoanalyst Dr. Françoise Dolto (When the Child Appears), whose main line of study was child development, according to Performance Magazine. The title character’s name is even said to have been derived from one of Dolto’s practices. The English translation of caillou is “pebble,” which is a reference to Dolto accepting tiny stones from children as payment for her consultations, Huffington Post Canada reports.
The early books presented Caillou as an infant several months old, but when it came time to tell stories of Caillou as a toddler, it was agreed that the character should remain bald, as the publisher believed that he’d be unrecognizable with a head of hair, according to the FAQ on the official Chouette website. L’Heureux, who founded Chouette, had her authorship rights disputed by Desputeaux in a case that traveled all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court, as reported by IMK.
A majority of Caillou was produced by Cinar (Johnny Test, Busytown Mysteries), the Montreal-based company at the center of an economic scandal that reportedly resulted in the longest criminal trial in Canadian history, according to The Montreal Gazette. Founder Ronald A. Weinberg (Arthur, Zoboomafoo) was convicted of, among other things, three counts of fraud and five offenses related to forgery, according to The Record. Weinberg, an executive producer on Caillou, was fully paroled in April 2019, The Montreal Gazette reports.