Thanks to Angela Santomero, with whom I have collaborated on another smaller venture, I had the opportunity to write an episode of a recently launched TV show that spun off from a TV show I grew up on.
The old: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
The new: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, an animated sequel of sorts, aimed at preschoolers.
I wrote the script under tight deadline in the summer of 2010; it debuted the fall of 2012. I don’t normally write for people that young, and won’t be writing more Daniel, but this was a great challenge and a true honor. As is typical in TV, my script was reworked in parts, but my core idea (“Everyone is big enough to do something”) is there, plus it’s always fun to see one’s name in the credits of anything.
I hope one day I’ll get the chance to write for youth-directed spin-offs of other favorite shows of my formative years: Saturday Night Live, Family Ties, and The Twilight Zone.
On 7/31/11 (okay, I’m behind, but with, I think, good reason), PBS announced the first animated spinoff—indeed the first spinoff of any kind—based on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. It’s cutely called Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, it’s scheduled to premiere in the fall of 2012, and I wrote one of the first round of episodes.
According to the press release, the show is
based on the next generation of the original Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood characters. All of the original characters have grown up and now have preschoolers of their own. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood stories revolve around a four-year-old Daniel Tiger, son of the original Daniel Tiger, and his preschool friends.My episode is about a fruit festival, and I will bedevil you by not revealing more as of yet.I was thrilled (and, naïvely, surprised) to see the enthusiastic reaction in the press to this show. I should not have underestimated the appeal Mr. Rogers still has.I suspect there will be much more to blog about the series as we near its launch, but for now, I can say I am honored I’ve now been a small part of such a cherished American and educational institution.
Go get 'em, Tiger!
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