December 29, 2006
PITTSBURGH - The media company behind the PBS hit “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” is working on a new children’s television series. Kevin Morrison, chief operating officer of Family Communications Inc., said the company is in talks with producers of several children’s TV shows about a new program.
Morrison said there is no timetable and ideas are still being discussed. But one thing it won’t be is an updated version of the original show, he said. “We’re taking our time. We want to get it right,” Morrison said. Production of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” ended in 2000, and Fred Rogers, the show’s star, died in 2003, at age 74. The show still airs on most PBS stations around the country. Rogers’ widow, Joanne, who also serves as Family Communications’ board chairwoman, said it’s a good thing the group is pursuing other projects. “I really think Fred would be proud of the organization for trying to continue their leadership in the field of children’s television,” she said. Morrison said no matter what the new program is, it will be something similar in theme to what Rogers promoted. “We’re talking about classic ‘Mister Rogers’ topics having to do with social, emotional and developmental issues,” he said. “The way Fred did that was Fred’s way. The way we do it next won’t necessarily be Fred’s way, but we think it will be a way Fred would respect and approve of.”