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“How Do You Make a Hit Children’s Show?” is the question I typically hear from parents, students, artists and writers as I meet them for the first time. While everyone’s got their own system to create educational media for children, I shared mine this week at The 4th Annual International Children’s Media Conference in Istanbul, Turkey, via live stream.

I was excited to journey outside my typical neighborhood with this project because a key to a better tomorrow lies within the education and happiness of children, on a global scale.

During the talk, I mentioned the importance of understanding one’s vision and the necessity of creating aspirational characters. Using Blue’s Clues, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Super Why!, Creative Galaxy & Wishenpoof as tangible examples of how I implemented such features, I explained their characters’ development and how each show’s curriculum helped to enhance their stories. I typically allude to the secret sauce and timing when discussing my projects, which are both imperative to a “Hit Children’s Show”.

Screenshot 2015-11-25 09.54.42

 Special thanks to Hatice Şehime ÖZÜTLER (TRT Çocuk) for inviting me to share, amidst an educated panel, for this special project.

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Conferences, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, PRESS

On Tuesday I have the privilege of speaking at the 10th Annual Ad Week 2013 (Liberty Theater-Time Square).


Tara Sorenson

The Amazon Leadership Breakfast: Kidsourcing: Turning Feedback into Great Entertainment panel will be moderated by Amazon Studios Head of Kids Development Tara Sorensen.


ALiceThe Amazon Leadership Breakfast will also include Amazon Studios Educational Advisor Dr. Alice Wilder. We’ll be discussing the importance of harnessing feedback from our customers, old & especially young, in our ongoing mission of creating quality media.


We’ll be sharing who our two key customers are and not only why our formative research process is so unique in this business, but why we feel it’s integral for us to pay such strict attention to it.


While this particular leadership breakfast is by invitation only, I’ll be sure to share the details later this week..I’m good like that :)
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Conferences, My Projects, Parenting, PRESS

iQ: smartparentMany parents are concerned about the enormous media content their children are exposed to. And while the number of avenues that deliver these various messages is increasing, there are just as many contradicting opinions on all of this content.

How can a parent properly assess it all, so that their children can consume age appropriate material that’s conducive to their growth?

WQED launched iQ: smartparent in response to a research study made up of parents expressing a desire to build their confidence with educational, 21st century media & expand their capacity for co-learning with their digitally savvy children. Through a series of 6 hour-long broadcasts & numerous online resources, iQ: smartparent equips parents & caregivers with tools & resources to aid their understanding and use of digital media & technologies for learning.

Thursday, June 27th, I will be hosting iQ: smartparent Tune In, Tune Out” in the Fred Rogers’ Studios.

Do your children believe everything they see on TV? How does your child learn to separate fiction from reality? This episode will empower families with skills & techniques which will assist in evaluating media while identifying ways that it can positively impact their lives.

iQ smartParent guests

I will be speaking with Board Certified Family Physician, Deborah Gilboa MD (@AskDocG), educational psychologist & children’s TV producer Alice Wilder (@alicewilder), Emmy®-award winning music producer, Emmai Alaquiva (@Emmai_Alaquiva) and behavioral scientist at the RAND Corp., Steven Martino.

If you are interested in attending the “Tune In, Tune Out” live taping in Pittsburgh, PA on Thursday, June 27, 2013 from 6:30-8 PM (EDT) please visit iQsmartparent4’s eventbrite page. iQ smartparent’s “Tune In, Tune Out” episode premieres: August 29, 8:00pmCommon Sense Media

iQ: smartparent is brought to you by WQED Multimedia with generous support from an anonymous donor & expertise from Common Sense Media.

“We are thrilled to welcome Angela Santomero to the iQ: smartparent series. She offers the sensitivity, advice, and media savvy to help any parent make great decisions about how 21 century media impacts a child. As a parent and TV creator she lives it every day.”

-Jennifer Stancil – WQED Executive Director of Educational Partnerships


by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Conferences

Angela Santomero talk

I’ll be speaking at “Shaping the Children’s Media Landscape: In the ‘Thinking Chair’ “with Educator, Researcher & Friend, Alice Wilder at Teacher College’s Academic Festival 2013

Teacher’s College- Columbia University’s signature homecoming event anchors this year-long series of 125th anniversary events on campus, bringing together alumni, students & friends of Teacher’s College for a day of learning, engaging & celebrating. Take part in interactive sessions that will explore some of the many trails we have blazed, as well as the cutting-edge work that keeps us at the forefront of change and innovation.

schedule of events

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Conferences, My Projects

Mister Rogers NeighborhoodAs a writer for kids television, every so often I hear “I’ve got THE idea for a kid’s show!”

Perhaps a tad more than every so often..perhaps.

While the concept is crucial in developing any new property, it’s the follow through on all of the intricate components that brings it all together.

And where can we immerse ourselves within the diverse styles of animation, production know-how, distribution rights, the evolution of digital media, the nail-biting pitch process, brand development and the dreaded B-word..budget, to list just a few?  The Kidscreen Summit.

Regarded as the biggest Kids’ Entertainment Event, the Kidscreen Summit takes place this year in NYC on  Feb 5-8th

Kidscreen Summit 2013

For those preschool writer’s out there, you’ll want to check out “Inside the Writer’s Room: Preschool” at Kidscreen. Moderated by Joe D’Ambrosia (VP Original Programming Disney Junior), I’ll be on the panel with preschool writers Joseph MazzarinoAdam Peltzman, Josh Selig & Craig Shemin speaking about keeping the CREATIVE front & center, while consistently bringing quality content to our viewers.

See you there!



by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Conferences, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood

After many years in development, TODAY’s the BIG premiere! This clip is taken from PBS’ Annual Meeting 2012 where I discuss the new show, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Enjoy the show!

Footage taken by

I spoke at BlogHer 2012, Keeping Things Private in a Public, Digital World, with NY Times moderator Jennifer Preston and fellow panelists Lynne Seitz & Vicky Colf (Warner Bros) about the ongoing changes in regulations & privacy agreements that leave the end user confused and vulnerable. While there are all types of informative ways to help protect oneself in the online world, I came out of the BlogHer conference with 5 main points top of mind:

•  Turn OFF geo tagging (or geo location) on your phone’s camera app settings – unless you choose to allow the public to know your private details which are embedded within those shared pictures

Try not to share with everyone – only selected users (i.e. semi-personal information with your friends..not friends of friends)

• DO NOT simply rely on a company’s privacy plan because they constantly change. Stay updated & change your perspective as these terms of service change.

• Think more than twice about allowing apps to share each others data. While you may trust Facebook or Twitter, those cute lil’ 3rd parties rarely have the same privacy terms

READ those terms of privacy..you’ll be very surprised at what they’re having you agree to.

Last week the Federal Trade Commission attempted to tighten up the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) – in particular, the collection of personal data from children’s websites/services and also to create a more concrete definition of personal information. While it looks like a step in the right direction only time will tell.


What steps do you take to keep your information private or what methods give you peace of mind in the online world?

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Conferences, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, My Projects, PRESS


This past weekend I attended the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Los Angeles, CA. I had the pleasure of speaking on the PBS panel with Bill Isler, president of The Fred Rogers Company, and Joanne Rogers, Chairman of the Board – The Fred Rogers Company. I had briefly addressed some commonly asked questions, regarding Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (PBS Kids), and am sharing a few of them below. Enjoy

What made Fred Rogers a pioneer in children’s entertainment? How is his trademark approach evident in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood?

Fred Rogers has been both an inspiration and a major career influence for me. In effect, he created a blueprint for children’s television that works. And, with this new show, we embraced the great level of respect that Fred had for children, the way he communicated with them, his gentler pace and his “interactive” inclusion of his young “neighbors” at home.


Are there elements of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood?  How is the new series fresh and different?

There are nostalgic nods of “love” to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood throughout each episode of the new show. The characters are the children of the beloved puppets from Fred’s Neighborhood of Make-Believe and our series star, Daniel Tiger, is the son of Daniel Striped Tiger, Fred’s first puppet.

Like Fred, Daniel wears a red sweater and sneakers and speaks directly to preschoolers to include them in his day. Fred’s music can be heard, in some cases as cover songs, and in others as inspiration for new musical strategies.

How have Fred Rogers’ groundbreaking concepts been updated to appeal to a whole new generation of young viewers and their parents?

Fred’s curriculum is timeless.  But our approach to his curriculum was planned with today’s preschoolers in mind because we wanted to make sure that we were reaching them most effectively in terms of appeal and learning.


Why choose animation instead of live action?

We wanted to animate the Neighborhood of Make-Believe to put a unique spin on the “neighborhood” with this new series. Plus, animation allows us to make our stories visual – for example, we can let viewers peek inside Daniel’s colorful imagination.

Angela's Clues

How did you develop the characters for the show?

Although the characters were initially based on the puppets in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, our goal was to give them a multi-dimensional feel so they’re true to the personalities of preschoolers.


What role does music play in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and why do you think using song-based strategies is so effective?

Music is an integral tool for learning in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Our musical strategies are unique and catchy.  Parents and children will be singing them all day long! For preschool viewers, music propels the curriculum forward, ensuring that they truly understand why a particular strategy was needed and how it helped our characters.

Recent research shows that early development of solid social and emotional skills leads to success later in life.  How did this help inform the creation of the show?

Pro-social values have been shown by numerous studies to be imperative to later social and academic success for children. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood helps hone the skills that prepare young viewers to be optimal learners in kindergarten and beyond. Encouraging children’s self-confidence, combined with the ability to regulate their impulses and appreciate adult guidance, gives them the solid foundation they need going forward.


How can Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood be a useful tool for parents and preschoolers beyond the television screen?

Some moms and dads who have previewed the show have called it “A user’s guide for today’s parent!” We’re finding that parents and caregivers are writing down our strategies and using them when they need to encourage their kids to be patient, when they’re nervous about a new experience or when they’re disappointed. We hope to have a useful strategy for every situation a parent could find themselves in!

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Conferences, Research Parents Should Know About!

Angela Santomero

Building on Fred Rogers’ belief in the power of media to foster early childhood development, The Fred Rogers Center has been bringing experts together from educational, developmental, media fields, etc. to discuss quality digital media for young children and the construction of a framework to strengthen this endeavor.

June 3-5th the 2012 Fred Forward Conference will be held in Latrobe, PA.  On Monday afternoon, June 4th, I will be speaking with Cathy Cohen Droz, Kevin Morrison & Jesse Schell on the subject of What’s New at The Fred Rogers Company. Chances are that I may bring up Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood at least once during the discussion ;)

Angela's Clues

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Conferences, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, My Projects

 Right after the emotional Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Breakfast, we were all whisked away to attend the PBS Kids Session.

I was humbled when asked to present with the Rock Stars of PBS Kids:  Lesli Rotenberg, Linda Simensky and Sara DeWitt.

There, I revealed more about myself, tried not to cry & presented the show’s curriculum & it’s importance for today’s children.

The best part?  I got to walk over center stage to interview Dr. Aisha White Oprah style.PBS Kids

Dr. White, in her own words, let everyone know that many children (& many adults) don’t learn how to deal with their emotions.  You might know some adults like this, right?

Not having coping skills to deal with everyday problems (cooperation, sharing, resilience, persistence) will undoubtedly have negative effects on children later in life

This has been my mantra while writing Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  We need to teach children coping strategies so they can reach their full potential in life!


Here are 3 clues that I revealed about myself at the PBS Annual Meeting:

Clue #1:  It’s true, that in my crazy Italian family, Mister Rogers was that calming voice that looked right at “me” and told me that he liked me just the way I was and I believed him.   I followed in his footsteps and got my Master’s Degree in Child Development just like Fred did.

Clue #2:  I went into television to create programs learning taking a cue from Fred’s groundbreaking style and approach.  I just hope to do for kids today what Mister Rogers did for me.

Clue #3:  I am the result of PBS programming…it creates people like me who wish to grow up and educate children through media.


Celebrate the premiere of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood with us!

Labor Day, SEPTEMBER 3rd @ 11am est