July 29, 2008

Holy Smokes, PBS Is Dropping Mister Rogers?? This Must Be Stopped.

Is this true?? PBS is dropping Mister Rogers' Neighborhood from its daily syndicated feed to its local affiliate stations in September, and instead sending out a single episode on weekends??

How in the world are local affiliates supposed to air the show five days/week if they only get one episode/week? Do they have episodes stockpiled on tape or something?

And how in the world does PBS think that one weekend episode will work, when the show is designed around a 5-day, inter-connected narrative? The whole Neighborhood of Make-Believe thing is a 5-part story each week! WTF? Oh, wait, maybe I shouldn't say that about Mister Rogers.

Anyway, if you're wondering what do you do with the mad that you feel, you're not alone. Brian Linder, a dad in South Carolina, is organizing a write-in movement to get PBS to come to their syndicating senses. The website, SaveMisterRogers.com, has the contact info for PBS and its executives. There's a Facebook group, too.

Holy Moses, there's a letter of encouragement from Mrs Rogers! !t must be true! Start writing and forwarding!

UPDATE: Alright, here's an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's TV critic Rob Owen explaining the changes. Sure enough, Local PBS stations can elect to receive an entire season's worth of episodes in the summer, which they then air at their own discretion. SO ANOTHER THING TO DO: Contact your local PBS station and tell them to keep carrying the show.

PBS, which describes the Neighborhood as "a legacy program," is removing it to make way for new programs in the syndicated feed, including Sid the Science Kid a preschool science show by Jim Henson Studios, and Sesame Workshop's new version of The Electric Company.

So WTF, is this just a bandwidth problem? Or is this about money, and the higher licensing fees that new episodes of new shows bring compared to Mister Rogers re-runs? Seriously, if PBS doesn't get their act together, Family Communications should just throw the whole archive up on iTunes.

Save Mister Rogers' Neighborhood [savemisterrogers.com]
Saving Mister Rogers on Facebook [facebook]
Less 'Mister Rogers' in PBS' Future [post-gazette.com]
Previously, one of my favorite discussions on DT: Merchandise. Is Mister Rogers the Anti-Sesame Street?


Greg, thanks so much for your support of this!

To elaborate on the local station issue... local PBS stations make the final call about what they air. Even if PBS drops it they can still air the program every day, but we're finding that many aren't planning to do. The only option they've got if they want to keep the Neighborhood on M-F apparently requires a huge amount of time and effort. PBS will beam them a whole season later this summer, but they have to them break that down, schedule it, etc. It's a headache. So, we're telling people to call both PBS HQ *and* their local member stations to express their support for Mister Rogers.

It really stinks that they're treating this program, with its timeless expressions of care for children, like a museum piece.


You guys don't think conspiratorially enough. Why buy what you get for free? Killing Mister Rogers will up DVD sales.

This is what happens to shows that don't have strong product licensing franchises. Unless Mr. Rogers gets his face on a diaper pronto, he's doomed.

That is the scariest thing I've read all week.

Ha! As far as the DVD angle goes... I'd actually be more okay with this decision if the Neighborhood was freely available on DVD -- only a few episodes have been released. And it will be years before FCI is able to make it so. In fact, I imagine the program will be distributed/archived online before that happens.

Mister Rogers on a diaper! Sacrilege, BUT... I'd much rather see his face on there than Elmo. Ugh. :)


They need to get all of these episodes digitized and on Google's servers. Mister Rogers belongs to everyone.

They dropped the daily showing here (in Lubbock, TX) like a year ago. I _think_ it's on weekends only now, but I haven't caught it yet (Sunday mornings maybe?).

I don't believe this is a new development.

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