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 2- to-4-year-olds, must be entertained.
The new PBS show “Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood” debuts at 10 a.m. Monday on OETA-13. 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. Voodoo Highway supplies songs with the necessary catchiness.
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.”