The Fred Rogers Company, the corporation established by Fred "Mister" Rogers, is creating its first childrens' program since Mister Rogers' Neighborhood ended production in 2001. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood will be an animated series based on the fantastical characters and settings from the original PBS show.
The show will feature the titular Daniel Tiger speaking directly to his audience in the same fashion that Fred Rogers used for decades. Other nods to the classic series include some of Rogers' classic songs and Daniel putting on the signature red sweater and tennis shoes at the beginning of every episode.
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is a joint effort from The Fred Rogers Company and Canadian firm 9 Story Entertainment, whose credits include Max and Ruby and Wild Kratts. Also helping is Out of the Blue Productions founder Angela Santomero, a Blues Clues veteran, who will be an executive producer on the new series.
The series is aimed at 4-year-olds and under, with a focus on preparing young children for experiences at school. While references to Rogers' legacy abound, the show will feature plenty of contemporary music and animation. A PBS executive described the tone of the new show as "Preschool Musical."
Fred Rogers ended his 33-year run on Mister Rogers Neighborhood in 2001. He died two years later at the age of 74. PBS continued to rerun episodes until 2008, but many local public stations still air reruns independently of the national PBS lineup. Rogers' soft-spoken and unfailingly positive presentation earned him four Emmy awards and a lifetime achievement award. Rogers was instrumental in securing funding for public broadcasting and educational programs throughout his life, a tradition that The Fred Rogers Company continues.
Fred Isler, the current president of the Company, had this to say:
'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.'
PBS is planning a fall 2012 premiere for Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. A full rollout is being prepared with educational online content aimed at the preschool viewers and early childhood educators.
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