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


I came across this Parenting in Progress post: My Neighborhood Is Not Animated yesterday & the following is my response:

I do love everyone’s passion.  I am also a passionate fan of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood and I am involved in creating the new spinoff of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, called Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.   Of course, I take all of your concerns to heart and I want to keep the conversation going.

Here are some answers to your questions:

Who is creating the spin off of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood?

Out of the Blue LLC with myself, Angela Santomero, and The Fred Rogers Company with Kevin Morrison.  I have an MA in Child Development and Instructional Technology and Media from Columbia University, Teachers College.  I created Blue’s Clues in 1996 that changed the way preschoolers watch tv and helped teach them kindergarten readiness skills as supported by a Univ of Alabama longitudinal study.  I created Super Why! for PBS Kids which teaches kids reading skills based on the National Reading Panel and was proven to help teach kids to read by a longitudinal study done by Univ of Penn.

Why Animation?

Because there is no way that we could find a new Fred Rogers.  He was born, not hired.  And I know.  Because I looked at 5,000 actors for Blue’s Clue and I hired Steve and Joe.  And as much as I love them, they are not Fred.  With animation, we can more clearly see the characters emotions in their faces and give little ones a more visual way to experience the curriculum.  We are carefully animating the show using textured, hand made elements that give it the “reach out and touch it” look and feel created by Traci Paige Johnson, my co – creator on Blue’s Clues.  And for what it’s worth, we have been working on this show for the past four years, and I can tell you that our level of animation is more expensive than a live action/puppet set, a style which I had chosen on many earlier projects.

Neighborhood of Make Believe:

As a fan of the show, I loved that Prince Tuesday was a baby puppet and then “grew up” and was a teenager puppet in later years.  I thought, it would be so much fun for me to go back and play in this world, now.  But what would the Neighborhood of Make Believe look like?  Well, everyone would have grown up and have had preschoolers of their own in their lives.  Daniel, the son of the original Daniel, is the star, because as Fred’s first puppet, he was the one closest to who Fred was as a person.  Four year old Daniel Tiger wears a little red sweater and little sneakers, calmly talks directly to the home viewer about his feelings, takes rides on the trolley, goes to the Neighborhood of Make Believe school and visits the neighborhood shops with all of his friends.  The nostaglia elements are in the show for us, fans.  Because, I for one, get very upset when a spin off doesn’t acknowledge where it came from (90210?).

Joanne Rogers (Mrs. Rogers), who, as you can imagine, is the closest to the original show and she loves Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  She said, “I dare anyone to not fall in love with Daniel”.  And I do too.  This show has been lovingly researched, written, cared for, fretted over and is the sweetest show for preschoolers in years.  It incorporates beautiful music based on Fred’s musical style that I dare you not to sing and it will undoubtedly get stuck in your head.  It has a celebration of love between Daniel and his parents and his friends.  It has gentle reminders for little ones about how “grownups come back”, “when something seems bad, turn it around and find something good” and a variety of other prosocial, emotional tips.

I hope you give our show a chance.  Because, I promise you it is THAT good.

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  1. avatar Kairi says:

    Four score and seven mintues ago, I read a sweet article. Lol thanks

  2. avatar Tom says:

    Will you also be including any of Fred’s songs in the show. I know he won’t be singing them but he wrote such an extensive catalog of material it would be great to keep it alive. Songs like I Like to Be Told and What Do You Do are timeless.

    • avatar Angela says:

      We’re big fans of his music as well and realize how instrumental the music was to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood . While we won’t using Fred’s originals, the music for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is carefully constructed using his songs as a launching point to (as you said) keep it alive. It’ll be very familiar to us fans.

      I really do LOVE the way the music is coming along. My youngest is singing some of them already. Hope yours will too!

      Thanks for your comment Tom

  3. avatar Lauretta says:

    Hi Angela, I only wish you the best of luck with your new show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. I know it will be a big success as everything you do. My grandchildren grew up with Blue Clues and Super Why and could not get enough of watching your shows. Good luck and keep on going with the new shows!


  4. Dear Angela…
    Our family has been fans of Mr. Rogers forever. I loved Mr. Rogers, my oldest child as well(20), my middle son adored Blues Clues(12) and my youngest daughter(4) will not let a day go by without seeing Super Why! I was honored to meet you at She Streams and CANNOT WAIT for the new series to surface! I am happy to share the news with all my friends and readers <3 Best of Luck to you! Congrats on the new series! Diane

    • avatar Angela says:

      Thanks so much for the kind note Diane. I was happy to meet you at SheStreams 2011 as well. Your youngest is going to LOVE “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” it sounds like you all have really good taste 🙂

  5. Looking forward to the premiere Angela. I appreciate the level of continuity between the original show and the new animated version. Should be fun for old and new fans alike.

  6. avatar Chrissie says:

    Good response. I hope she posts it soon. I’d like to see her reaction to your reply.