Question: Did Steve Burns, of Blue's Clues fame, quit the show? Someone told me he wanted out of the series. I see him as the Captain Kangaroo for today's kids. If there is a contract dispute. tell Nick to give the man a raise! Looking forward to new episodes! — Dennis, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Televisionary: Unfortunately, Dennis, you heard correctly — and believe it or not for once it's not about money. You may see the beloved Burns as today's Captain, but he sure as heck doesn't. Matter of fact, that was part of the problem.

"I really didn't want to become Krusty the Clown in front of the nation," Burns told Time magazine when he announced in January that he planned to leave his gig after six years on the hugely popular show. "The new guy is funnier and better than me," he said of replacement Joe (Donovan Patton), who will be billed as Steve's brother.

The real zinger? Burns noted that if he were a child, he'd have hated "with all my heart" his TV counterpart. (Remember, this is a guy whose ability to portray a dark side was evident when he played a murderous teen on the now-defunct Homicide: Life on the Streets.)

Burns's last episodes will run in mid-2002, though you'll still see him in all those Blue's reruns. And look at the bright side: If he really has to go, it's still a heck of a lot more pleasant than the fates assigned to him via all those nasty — and false — rumors of a couple of years back, which had him overdosed on heroin, run over by a car, arrested for narcotics possession and hiding a porn-star past.