‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ Gets an Animated Spinoff

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Fred Rogers posing with a toy trolley on the set of his television show 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood'

Do you pine for those childhood days parked in front of the television, watching Mister Rogers obsessively change his sweater and play with (retrospectively creepy) puppets? Well now, he’s back,  reincarnated as a 4-year-old cartoon tiger called Daniel.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood premieres in fall 2012 on PBS Kids, and its producers seem thrilled to have traded their legendary host for an infantile talking animal.

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“We’re very excited to be creating a program that builds on Fred’s legacy in such fresh and innovative ways,” Bill Isler, President of The Fred Rogers Company, told the Hollywood Reporter. “Fred knew that school readiness skills are the foundation for academic achievement, and a full life, and now a growing body of research confirms this.”

How that relates to a cartoon show remains unclear, but the developers are quick to point out the show comes with a website that offers free interactive games and resources for parents and teachers.

The original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was removed in a 2008 PBS cull that also did away with Reading Rainbow and Teletubbies. Mister Rogers himself decamped to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe in 2003 at age 74.

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