‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’:
2 p.m. weekdays, KBTC
For Mrs. Rogers to sign off on a new show, it must promote her late husband’s values. And the youngest of viewers, in this case 2to 4-year-olds, must be entertained.
The new PBS show “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” debuts Monday (check local listings). It’s a sweet, not treacly animated show featuring two related 11-minute episodes and a live-action short film. Each weekday episode gently delivers moral lessons.
It’s a fair bet that the parents of the target audience grew up on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” and they will recognize the characters’ heritage.
Daniel Tiger is the son of the original show’s Daniel Striped Tiger. His best friend is O the Owl, who lives with his Uncle X in a tree. He’s also pals with Katerina Kittycat, daughter of the original show’s Henrietta Pussycat, and Prince Wednesday, the youngest member of the neighborhood’s royal family.
“There was no doubt in my mind that the need was there,” Joanne Byrd Rogers says. “They missed Mister Rogers’ values.”
After being married to Fred Rogers for more than 50 years, she describes those values as “honesty, truth, loyalty and doing the best you can.”
The new show was years in the making. Executive producers Kevin Morrison of The Fred Rogers Company and Angela C. Santomero, creator of “Super Why!” and “Blue’s Clues,” were ideal choices to bring this to life, she says.
“They all speak Freddish, as we say,” Rogers says.