Another key to the success of Blue's Clues was casting. According to Traci Paige Johnson, she was cast as Blue's voice because out of the show's crew, she sounded the most like a dog. Nick Balaban, who, along with Michael Rubin, wrote the music for the show, was cast as the voice of Mr. Salt. (Balaban reported that Mr. Salt was not originally French; he spoke with a Brooklyn accent.)
The most important casting was that of the host, the only human character in the show. After over 100 auditions and months of research, the producers hired actor/performer Steve Burns, who remained on Blue's Clues for seven years and was in over one hundred episodes, until he left to pursue a musical career in 2002. As Johnson said, "What made Burns a great children's host was that 'he didn't want to be a children's host ... He loved kids, but he didn't want to make a career out of it.'" Burns himself stated, tongue-in-cheek, "I knew I wasn't gonna be doing children's television all my life, mostly because I refused to lose my hair on a kid's TV show, and it was happenin'—fast."
Burns' departure caused a resurface of the rumors that had circulated about him since 1998. As Burns said, "The rumor mill surrounding me has always been really strange." These "specious claims" included dying from a heroin overdose, being run over by a car, and being replaced, like Paul McCartney of The Beatles, by a look-alike. Some viewers claimed that "clues" regarding Burns' demise were placed within the show. Burns made an appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show to dispute these rumors, and he and co-creator Angela Santomero appeared on Today to help parents assuage the fears of children who might have heard the rumors.
Burns was replaced by Donovan Patton, who was subjected to the same kind of scrutiny to earn the job. "We saw Steve Burns' retirement from the show as a chance to put Blue's Clues on a new course," Johnson said."
_________________Bill "The Verb" Crovo
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