July 31, 2011 6:26pm PT by Jethro Nededog
Fred Rogers' Legacy Lives on With a 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' Animated Spin Off From PBS
Fred Rogers’ mission to revolutionize children’s television and education with the long-running show he created and hosted, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, will live on with a new animated spin off, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, from PBS.
The TV program provider announced Sunday at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Press Tour that the new multiplatform animated series will take place in the original “Neighborhood of Make Believe” featuring a four-year-old host named Daniel Tiger. In the new series, all the residents of the neighborhood have grown up and now have their own preschool-aged children.
“We’re very excited to be creating a program that builds on Fred’s legacy in such fresh and innovative ways,” Bill Isler, President of The Fred Rogers Company, which developed the series, says. “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.”
The series begins airing in Fall 2012 on PBS Kids, along with a website that will include free interactive games for kids, online resources for parents and teachers, and other cross-platform content.
It is executive produced by Kevin Morrison for The Fred Rogers Company and cofounder of Out of the Blue Enterprises, Angela Santomero (Super Why!). Additionally, 9 Story Entertainment will produce the animation and Schell Games will develop the series’ digital educational applications.
Rogers passed away in 2003 at the age of 74 from stomach cancer. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was one of the longest running series on PBS, which continuously ran reruns of the series through Aug. 2008.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro