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New PBS Kids Series Inspired by Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood


Fred Rogers Productions is working on a new series for PBS Kids, Donkey Hodie, inspired by the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood character.

The puppet series follows the adventures of Donkey Hodie, the granddaughter of the original Donkey Hodie character (now known as “Grampy Hodie”), a puppet from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood who appeared in 59 episodes of the beloved classic children’s show from 1968 to 1993.

Spiffy Pictures is working with Fred Rogers Productions on the show, billed as a social-emotional series for children ages 3 to 5. It follows Donkey Hodie, a sweet, yellow donkey with a magenta mohawk, along with her pals, Purple Panda, Duck Duck and Bob Dog, who all empower preschoolers to dream big and overcome obstacles in their own lives, to work hard and persevere in the face of failure, to be resourceful and discover they are capable of solving problems on their own—and to laugh themselves silly along the way.

Donkey Hodie is being slated for a winter 2021 premiere.

New, original music will be featured in the show—along with reimagined versions of Fred Rogers’ original songs—to reinforce and underscore each story’s positive message. Each episode will include two 11-minute, character-driven stories with accompanying short-form content. The series is currently in production for 40 half-hour episodes.

“Life lessons like following your dreams and persevering have always been core to PBS Kids’ DNA,” said Linda Simensky, head of PBS Kids Content. “With a little help from Donkey Hodie and her friends, today’s kids will learn how to come up with creative solutions to the everyday problems they encounter and keep trying until they achieve their goals.”

Donkey Hodie further extends and builds on our mission to create engaging, educational content that makes it fun for children to learn and grow while engaging their parents,” said Ellen Doherty, chief creative officer at Fred Rogers Productions. “This exciting show will also introduce effective new approaches to support children’s social-emotional development and growth. We can’t wait for kids and parents to meet Donkey and her friends!”

“We were really inspired by the silly side of Fred Rogers, and it’s a thrill to expand the Someplace Else world he dreamed up,” said Adam Rudman, co-founder of Spiffy Pictures. “We’re excited to share brand new lovable and funny puppet characters with preschoolers and their families,” added David Rudman, co-founder of Spiffy Pictures.

About Kristin Brzoznowski

Kristin Brzoznowski is the executive editor of World Screen. She can be reached at [email protected]


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