|Bear in the Big Blue House|
|Genre||Children's television series|
|Created by||Mitchell Kriegman|
|Developed by||The Jim Henson Company|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||118 (list of episodes)|
|Producer||Richard A. Fernandes|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Production companies||Shadow Projects|
Jim Henson Television
|Distributor||The Jim Henson Company|
Buena Vista Television
|Original network||Playhouse Disney|
|Audio format||Dolby Surround|
|Original release||October 20, 1997 –|
April 28, 2006
Bear in the Big Blue House is an American children's television series created by Mitchell Kriegman and produced by Jim Henson Television for Disney Channel's Playhouse Disney preschool television block. Debuting on October 20, 1997, it aired its last episode on April 28, 2006. Reruns of the program continued to air on Playhouse Disney until May 6, 2010.
In 2004, The Jim Henson Company sold the rights to the show, including characters, content library and copyrights, to The Walt Disney Company; it is now owned by The Muppets Studio, a subsidary of Disney that also owns, and is named after, The Muppets characters and copyrights.
Bear lives in the Big Blue House where he is caregiver for his friends Ojo, a bear cub; Tutter, a mouse; Treelo, a lemur; otters Pip and Pop; and narrator Shadow. He and his friends have many adventures together. Those normally include solving problems, sharing, cooperating with each other, and developing social/life skills.
Each episode opens with the welcome song, Bear detecting a scent in the viewers (which he likens to a pleasant smell) and appearance of the characters. Each show focuses on a theme (ex; "sleep", "doctors", "Thanksgiving") which folds into a lesson at the end. Songs and jokes accompany the episode. The character "Shadow" narrates a segment with shadow puppets in each episode. Most of the segments are in song, while some are simply a short story relating to the episode's theme. At the end of the program, Bear sings the goodbye song with Luna, the moon.
Main article: List of Bear in the Big Blue House episodes
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||26||October 20, 1997||November 24, 1997|
|2||39||June 8, 1998||February 28, 1999|
|3||26||July 19, 1999||December 6, 1999|
|Surprise Party||September 3, 2002|
|4||26||September 9, 2002||April 28, 2006|
Several of these characters appeared in a music video for the We Are Family Foundation. Bear also appeared as a celebrity in the 2002 revival of The Hollywood Squares; he notably appeared in Whoopi Goldberg's final episode.
Bear in the Big Blue House was initially produced from 1997 to 2003. The sudden death of Lynne Thigpen, who voiced 'Luna' the Moon, led to production being put on hiatus for three years, along with a planned film.
In 2005, two years after Thigpen's death, Tara Mooney, who voiced Shadow, told Irish radio station Today FM that "the crew's hearts just weren't in it anymore".
After the hiatus and the spin-off Breakfast with Bear, a final run of new episodes aired on the Disney Channel in April 2006, with the last episode airing on April 28, 2006. Repeats of the show ceased altogether in May 2010 (December 2010 in the UK). Thigpen was posthumously nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for voicing Luna.
Bear in the Big Blue House will be available for streaming on Disney+ beginning October 19, 2022.
The show was shown throughout the world including in the United Kingdom on Playhouse Disney UK and Channel 5, on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Australia and on RTÉ Two in Ireland.