Fans of Doc McStuffins, the extremely popular animated African-American girl who fixes broken toys on the Disney Junior cable network, can breathe a sigh of relief. Her series has been renewed for a fifth season.
The renewal is likely to assuage fans who took to social media this past summer wondering why a fifth season for the program had not been announced, even though the series at the time was in the middle of its fourth cycle. W. Kamau Bell, the comedian, activist and CNN host, helped intensify speculation about the fate of the program when he took to Twitter and asked similar questions, sparking a grateful reaction from Chris Nee, the program’s creator.
The character’s clinic, in which she helps fix broken toys (and, more recently, toy pets) will remain open. “‘Doc McStuffins’ is an unmistakable example of our commitment to powerful storytelling that enriches and enlightens kids. I can think of no other children’s television show in recent history that has touched as many lives and made the kind of impact around the world that Doc has,” said Nancy Kanter, executive vice president and general manager, Disney Junior Worldwide, in a prepared statement. “Our viewers have forged a deep connection with this series and are very vocal about how strongly they believe in these characters.” The fifth season will begin airing in 2018.
Viewers are likely to presume Doc’s supporting cast, which includes Lambie, Stuffy, Chillie and Hallie, will return.
Since the series debuted in 2012, it has won much admiration, particularly because it is difficult to find a female African-American protagonist who aspires to be a doctor in many mainstream cartoons. A group of African-American female physic ans, inspired by the program, formed the Artemis Medical Society, an organization which has a membership of over 4700 women physicians of color from around the world. First Lady Michelle Obama guest-starred as herself in an episode.
“Doc McStuffins” won a Peabody Award in 2015 and NAACP Image Awards in 2015 and 2016 in the “Outstanding Children’s Program” category
Disney says the series averages 16 million views on the Disney Junior app, VOD and Hulu, and reaches 150 million viewers worldwide each quarter, and in the past year was ordered over 20 million times via set-top-box VOD.