Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood came to a close in 2001 after beloved host Fred Rogers announced that he was ending the TV series to focus on his health. Sadly, Rogers died of stomach cancer in February 2003 at the age of 74. The series continued to air in reruns on PBS until 2008.
Rogers’ production company, family, and friends have done much to keep his legacy alive and now, his puppet characters are returning to television in a new animated spin-off.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, starring the four-year-old son of the original Daniel Striped Tiger, is expected to debut in the fall of 2012.
Here’s the press release from PBS:
PBS ANNOUNCES NEW SERIES INSPIRED BY MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD CHARACTER DANIEL TIGER
DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD, set to launch in Fall 2012 as part of PBS KIDS preschool line-up, will focus on preparing kids for school success.
PBS Press Tour, Los Angeles, CA, July 31, 2011 – This morning, at the Television Critics Association’s Summer Press Tour, PBS announced the launch of production for DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD, a new animated multi-platform series inspired by one of the most beloved PBS classic television series, MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD. The new preschool series is an animated version of the original Neighborhood of Make Believe in which a four-year-old Daniel Tiger is the star of the show who talks directly to the home audience inviting them in to his world. The first television series produced by The Fred Rogers Company since MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD, DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD will launch in Fall 2012 on-air on PBS KIDS, along with a robust website, including free, interactive games for kids, online resources for parents and teachers, and other cross-platform content.
DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD is based on the next generation of the original MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD characters. All of the original characters have grown up and now have preschoolers of their own. DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD stories revolve around a four-year-old Daniel Tiger, son of the original Daniel Tiger, and his preschool friends. The series uses musical strategies grounded in Fred Rogers’ landmark curriculum and music. In this way, the songs will give parents and kids a concrete way to practice important pro-social skills together.
DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD brings together a group of today’s leading creators of children’s media and educational technology. The series was developed by the acclaimed Fred Rogers Company in association with Out of the Blue Enterprises.
“We’re very excited to be creating a program that builds on Fred’s legacy in such fresh and innovative ways. Fred knew that school readiness skills are the foundation for academic achievement, and a full life, and now a growing body of research confirms this,” said Bill Isler, President of The Fred Rogers Company.
“Fred Rogers revolutionized children’s media with MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD, and DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD continues on this path of innovation, helping the next generation of young children learn and grow in new ways,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, Children’s Media, PBS. “Joining the PBS KIDS family of series that cover important curricular areas like literacy and science, DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD fills a critical gap in children’s media today: modeling the behaviors and habits that kids need in order to excel in formal learning settings – essentially, learning how to learn. It’s important for kids to learn pro-social skills like cooperation and listening, so that when they start school they are able to focus on the material at hand.”
The executive producers of DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD are Kevin Morrison, for The Fred Rogers Company, and Angela Santomero, cofounder of Out of the Blue Enterprises and the creative force behind the hit PBS KIDS literacy series SUPER WHY!. In addition to this key partner, The Fred Rogers Company is joined by 9 Story Entertainment, bringing award-winning animation capabilities to the production, and top game designer Schell Games, which will spearhead the series’ digital educational applications.
DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD joins the PBS KIDS line-up of cross-platform content for kids ages 2 to 8, which includes a host of top-rated series including THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT!, CURIOUS GEORGE and WILD KRATTS. With a transmedia approach, PBS KIDS is increasingly serving children wherever they live, learn, and play – on TV, online, through mobile devices, in the classroom, and through a new line of educational toys.
About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for children, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and community-based programs. Each quarter, more than 27 million viewers watch PBS KIDS on TV, and PBSKIDS.org, the number one kids’ entertainment site for free video streaming, attracts more than 9.3 million unique visitors per month (Nielsen, NTI Q42010; comScore Video Metrix; Google Analytics). For more information on specific PBS KIDS programs supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit PBS.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.
About the Fred Rogers Company
The company was founded by Fred Rogers in 1971 as the non-profit producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for PBS. In the years that followed, it not only created hundreds of episodes of this much-loved program, but also extended Fred’s values and approach to other efforts in promoting children’s social, emotional, and behavioral health and supporting parents, caregivers, teachers and other professionals in their work with children.
The Fred Rogers Company continues to build on Fred’s legacy in innovative ways through a wide variety of media, and engaging new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom. For more information, visit us at www.fredrogers.org.
About Out of the Blue Enterprises
Out of the Blue Enterprises is dedicated to developing a groundbreaking portfolio of individually-targeted children’s entertainment properties, under the direction of a proven management team led by Co-Founders Angela C. Santomero, M.A. developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Creator of the preschool entertainment phenomenon, Blue’s Clues, and Samantha Freeman, MBA from Harvard Business School and former Nickelodeon entertainment executive with extensive children’s marketing experience. The company creates breakthrough, interactive and curriculum-based entertainment concepts that span a variety of viable platforms, including television, video, publishing and consumer products. In doing so, Out of the Blue stimulates the minds of kids and families, involves them in fresh and original ways and elevates their educational entertainment experiences to a whole new level.
What do you think? Do you think the new show is a good idea; a good way to carry on Fred Rogers’ legacy?
Image courtesy PBS.