August 1st, 2011
10:51 AM ET
Mister Rogers' neighborhood is being taken over by a tiger - a tiny Daniel Tiger, to be exact.
PBS announced over the weekend at the Television Critics Association press tour that the network is revisiting the beloved children's show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" with a new animated program. This series incorporates the original "Mister Rogers" characters as adults with young kids of their own living in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
Four-year-old Daniel Tiger is the star - hence the title "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" - and the show is set to air next fall. It's the first TV series the Fred Rogers Company has produced since the original "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," which ceased production about 10 years ago.
Although the original "Mister Rogers" could be watched by a wide age range, the new version is targeting the preschool set, Kevin Morrison, the Chief Operating Officer of the Fred Rogers Company who is also executive producing "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood," told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
"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 told the paper. “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."
But one thing will remain the same, and that's instilling a sense of curiosity in young viewers about the world around them, Morrison said. "The huge thing [Rogers] 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," Morrison added.
Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President of Children’s Media at PBS, said in a statement that “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."
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