PBS announces Mister Rogers spin-off: "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood"

Status
Not open for further replies.

Phillip

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 11, 2002
Messages
8,102
Reaction score
3,370
The Fred Rogers Company (formerly Family Communications) announced a few years ago that they were working on a new series with Fred Rogers' values. This is a little different than what I expected especially the "next generation" angle. It will surely be treated with a lot of care so this will be something long-term fans will want to follow closely in the months ahead.

A neighborhood is being constructed by Fred Rogers Co. for animated series
Sunday, July 31, 2011
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


"Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" (c) 2011 The Fred Rogers Co.

Daniel Tiger changes into sneakers, a nod to Fred Rogers on "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," in the new series "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood," set to debut on PBS stations nationwide in the fall of 2012.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- A new era for a familiar neighborhood begins in fall 2012 when "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood," produced by the Oakland-based Fred Rogers Co., debuts on public television stations nationwide.

PBS was slated to announce this morning at the Television Critics Association summer press tour that production has begun on an initial 40 episodes of the animated series, which will air weekday mornings, including on Pittsburgh's WQED.

Set in the same Neighborhood of Make-Believe popularized by Mister Rogers during 33 seasons of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," the new series focuses on the children of that show's famous puppet characters.

Daniel Tiger is the son of Daniel Striped Tiger, who will also be seen alongside other parents. Additional new characters include Prince Wednesday, son of King Friday and Queen Sara; Miss Elaina, daughter of Lady Elaine Fairchild; Katerina Kittycat, daughter of Henrietta Pussycat; and O the Owl, nephew of X the Owl.

The series has been in development since 2006 when Family Communications, the previous name for the nonprofit media company Mr. Rogers founded in 1971, announced its intention to develop a new program and partner with another producer.

Fred Rogers Co. chief operating officer Kevin Morrison is executive producer of "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" alongside Angela Santomero, who is co-founder of New York-based Out of the Blue Enterprises, creator of PBS's "Super Why!" and co-creator of 1990s Nickelodeon hit "Blue's Clues."

"We wanted to weave the values and philosophy of Fred Rogers into whatever we did but make it relevant for the 21st century and a new audience," Mr. Morrison said, noting that several Fred Rogers Co. staff members who worked on the old "Neighborhood" offer notes on scripts for the new program.

Ms. Santomero grew up watching the original "Neighborhood" and credits Fred Rogers with her interest in a career in children's television and in her approach to creating programs for young viewers. At one point she was pen pals with Mr. Rogers before meeting him at a children's television symposium at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication.

Early in the new program's development, Ms. Santomero said she and the Fred Rogers Co. creative team ruled out any attempts to create a next-generation version of Mr. Rogers, who died in 2003 of stomach cancer.

"But what it can be about is the Neighborhood of Make-Believe and putting that in animated form," she told the Post-Gazette in an interview earlier this month. "Daniel Tiger, for me, was the young Fred Rogers, what Fred would have been like as a child: curious and empathetic."

The new program, aimed at children 2 to 5 with a focus on 3- and 4-year-olds, will offer nods to parents who grew up on the old show, including some of Mr. Rogers' songs and a scene of Daniel, in a cardigan sweater, changing into sneakers.

"There will be nostalgic moments for fans like me but it's important to know it's a show for everybody, whether they know the 'Neighborhood' or not," Ms. Santomero said.

"Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" will feature story lines that model skills needed for school readiness, including the social and emotional skills.

"These are our youngest, most impressionable viewers and for most of them this will be their first experience with media," said Lesli Rotenberg, senior vice president of children's media at PBS. "It has to be handled very carefully because media has the power to do good or evil, and with kids that young, who will imitate what they see, we take that to heart. ... There's nobody we trusted more than the Fred Rogers Co."

Each half-hour episode of "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" will contain two, 11-minute animated segments produced in Toronto by 9 Story Entertainment and a short live-action segment that will be produced in Pittsburgh.

The live-action segments are still in development but will likely include some "Picture Picture" elements from Mr. Rogers' program, including new factory visits. There also will be scenes of 4-year-olds talking about their experiences with whatever the episode's theme happens to be, such as "I like you because you're you" or "Let's think of something to do while we're waiting."

Using two animated and one live-action segment is a familiar PBS kids show formula, but for the first time the two animated segments will share a theme or topic.

"With the number of characters we have, we can have a couple of different approaches to the same topic and that will just reinforce the lesson doubly so," said Linda Simensky, vice president of PBS children's programming.

In addition to the TV show, Schell Games on the South Side will develop online content, including "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood"-themed games that will be available at no charge at PBSKids.org.

"We're taking a show for our youngest kids that's really focused on school readiness and finding a way to make games that underscore what we're teaching on air," Ms. Simensky explained.

Joanne Rogers, widow of Mr. Rogers and honorary chairwoman of the Fred Rogers Co. board of directors, said she is thrilled with the brief scenes she's seen from "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood."

"I just got goose bumps right away," she said. "I was so excited because the old feeling is there. I think [Ms. Santomero] really captured it and I almost cried because I felt such relief. I'd been anxious not knowing what to expect, but, oh, Daniel is just so cute. I can't imagine everybody won't love him, and I'm delighted in any case."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11212/1163932-67-0.stm
 

Phillip

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 11, 2002
Messages
8,102
Reaction score
3,370
Here's some more info...

PRESS TOUR: More details on 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood'

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Finally!

I’ve been waiting almost five years to be able to report the production start of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” the new animated television series from the company founded by the late Fred Rogers. I’ve been checking in on the new program’s progress every six months since we broke the news that the show was “in development” in December 2006.

How "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" turns out remains to be seen, but the notion of centering a series on Daniel's 4-year-old son sounds right to me. As a kid growing up watching "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," Daniel was always my favorite character. And I got the sense Fred Rogers related to him, too.

When I interviewed Rogers in his office about the end of the "Neighborhood" in 2000, I remember Rogers putting a Daniel puppet on his hand and talking to me as Daniel. I talked right back to Daniel.

The fact that development of "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" took this long might seem unusual, but PBS programs often take years.

“It didn’t take a whole lot longer than I thought it would,” said Kevin Morrison, chief operating officer of The Fred Rogers Company. “My experience of developing television concepts is that they do take a large slice out of your life. By the time you’ve arrived at what it is you want to do and put it into some pitchable format and gone to a network and got them interested to the point that they say, ‘Let’s do a pilot,’ and then spend a year doing a pilot and then take it back and they say whether they like it or not.”

Morrison said there’s a sense of excitement at the Fred Rogers Co. about having a new television project.

“We really think we’re producing something Fred would be proud of that furthers his legacy,” Morrison said, “which is one of the things we’ve devoted ourselves to.”

Read more after the jump. ...

Now onto some questions viewers might have about the program, which is executive produced by Angela Santomero of "Blue's Clues" with animation by 9 Story Entertainment of Toronto:

Will Trolley be in the new show?

Yes, and Trolley is proving to be popular.

“In research, the trolley has become a very big character with the kids we’ve tested this with,” Morrison said. “They’re 3 and 4 and have no clue what a trolley is but they like it and it plays a role in the Neighborhood.”

Trolley does not speak, it continues to ding, ding.

“What you can do in animation which you could not do with a real model is stretch the rules a bit and almost make it shrug its shoulders,” Morrison said.

What about Mr. McFeely?

An animated McFeely will make occasional appearances but he is not a regular character on “Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.”

How does this show’s aim compare and contrast to that of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”?

“‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ wasn’t specifically aimed at the same audience. It had a very broad audience reach. You could watch ‘Mister Rogers’ if you were 4 and you could watch ‘Mister Rogers’ if you were 12 and you could get different things out of the program,” Morrison said. “That was one of its great strengths, and obviously in the context of that time when there weren’t many children’s programs, that was an important strength. There are no longer three TV channels a child can watch after school; there are 300. It’s a fragmented market. It’s now structured so that there are programs that specifically target boys who are 9 and boys who are 12 and so on.

“This show is meant to target boys and girls who are 3 or 4 and be of interest to children between 2 and 5, so the focus is much more narrow than the ‘Mister Rogers’ focus,” Morrison continued. “In terms of what it is saying, it’s saying very similar things. … The ‘Mister Rogers’ of old was not the show you point to and say, watch that show in order to learn math or how to read. … ‘Mister Rogers’ was about curiosity and the world around you. He would show you how to repair a faucet and he would do it himself but the show wasn’t about plumbing and there was such a broad canvas there. The huge thing he had which nobody else had in those literacy and numeracy and science programs was an understanding of how people relate to other people, understanding emotions.”

Will PBS continue to make the original "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" available to stations on weekends as it is now?

“For the time being,” said Linda Simensky, vice president of PBS children’s programming. “It’s hard for me to say how long. It’s up to them how long they want to keep feeding the show.”

Any plans to package the shows – “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and “Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood” -- in an hour block?

This seemed like a sort of obvious thing to consider but the response from the PBS executives when I posed the question was crickets. Once they recovered, one said, “No, that’s just too much for stations. They like to air things in half hours. We never really looked at anything longer than a half hour.”

“We are really embracing this as a brand new property,” said Lesli Rotenberg, senior vice president of children’s media at PBS.

During my reporting on this new series, there seemed to be a real push and pull among all those involved -- a desire to pay homage to the original “Neighborhood” but not link it too closely to create a barrier to entry to “Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.”
 

Drtooth

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2002
Messages
31,718
Reaction score
6,703
Fred Rogers Co. chief operating officer Kevin Morrison is executive producer of "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" alongside Angela Santomero, who is co-founder of New York-based Out of the Blue Enterprises, creator of PBS's "Super Why!" and co-creator of 1990s Nickelodeon hit "Blue's Clues."
Yeah, just mentioning Blue's Clues and especially Super Hy gives me no faith in this project. It could end up as a loving homage to the show, in the same great relaxed tone, or it could be slapping a famous brand on an overdone idea. Plus, I'm no fan of the character designs or the animation style they're going for.
 

CensoredAlso

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2002
Messages
14,028
Reaction score
2,292
I know this is awful, but when I saw the image of the tiger putting his sneakers on, my first thought was it looked like South Park making fun of Mr. Rogers, lol.
 

mr3urious

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
3,921
Reaction score
1,407
I don't really like the narrowed focus of the audience, like what they did with SS in recent times. The animation style certainly looks cute, though, and will hopefully look better in motion.
 

Sgt Floyd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2006
Messages
27,875
Reaction score
2,542
I dont like how they said they want it to be relevant. I have a bad feeling its gonna be another. "THIS. IS. AN. APPLE. KIDS. WHAT. COLOR. IS. THE. APPLE? RED. THATS. RIGHT!" shows...Weird example but I hope it gets the point accross. The constant screaming at the kid and talking really slow...like what dumb tourists do when they thinik the person cant speak english :smirk:
 

Drtooth

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2002
Messages
31,718
Reaction score
6,703
Well... Mr. Rogers did talk kinda slow to the kids... but then again, that was the way he naturally spoke.
 

Dominicboo1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2011
Messages
2,408
Reaction score
877
If anyone making this show is listening, please consider having Daniel make introductions to songs from his friend Mr. Rogers. He could sing the great songs "It's a beautiful day", "It's Such A Good Feeling", and "It's You I Like".
 

muppet baby

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2006
Messages
1,552
Reaction score
28
ok i might take one look at a eposide and see what it is condestering that it is being made by a company that is family owned by fred rogers family but the pictures do look a bit strange , i really loved the show Mr rogers and i am condedering buying some of the reruns that they are selling on itunes it was a very good show with a lot of happy childhood memories .
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top