Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood not included in weekday program services this fall
July 28, 2008 11:55 PM   Subscribe

After 40 years of national broadcasts, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood will be removed from PBS' weekday program service this fall. The current situation is that PBS beams the show to member stations as part of its children's programming block Monday through Friday. Most (63%) stations air it. Starting in the fall, PBS stations won't receive the show daily but rather one episode per week will be sent. This summer, PBS stations that still want to play the the show during the week will have an opportunity to receive a season's worth of episodes to stockpile. But receiving and scheduling those episodes requires effort.

As such, contacting one's local PBS station requesting for the summer stockpile is one step. Here's a link to the station finder. One can also contact national PBS. Mrs. Rogers herself is encouraging people to do this.

News article

I don't mean this to be activistfilter, but past posts about Mr. Rogers seem to imply that others will care about this.
posted by k8t (33 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Halpern and Tomlinson said we gotta make room for balanced points of view, and horse racing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:19 AM on July 29, 2008

I think I might just take off my jacket and put on a cardigan, take off my loafers an put on my sneakers and write a very strongly worded letter.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:55 AM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]

There goes the Neighborhood.
posted by one_bean at 1:01 AM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]

I'd like to see the numbers on this actually. After Mr. Rogers passed away, is there honestly a decline in viewership? His programs were specifically designed to work for a certain age group, and there's new members of that age group every year. Perhaps less children that age want to watch the program? I recall the series being timeless, but if PBS honestly thinks the programming broadcast can be better served with newer programming then they should be allowed to explore that.

One would think, if Mr. Rogers is still bringing in viewers after his death, that this would be a nobrainer. Keep showing reruns of the series indefinitely. I mean wouldn't they save money using the same show over and over, that works as well as when it first aired? If they are not bringing in viewers, and therefore pledges, then they'd have to drop Mr. Rogers for something that will keep the money rolling in.

If a lot of parents rise up and make a stink, PBS will of course reconsider, but only if the pledges/revenue goes up. That sucks, but they gotta keep their doors open.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:08 AM on July 29, 2008

I want to think that if Mr. Rogers were alive today, he'd go back to congress and ask for another $20 million to get all the episodes ever filmed archived and available on-line.

(That video shows the most honest and pure 20 million dollars ever made in under ten minutes)
posted by one_bean at 1:12 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

The current PBS kids lineup looks a little bleak currently. Maybe that stuff is good, but at least at my local station, Curious George plays twice.
posted by k8t at 1:23 AM on July 29, 2008

"The amount of programming that's coming in is not lightening up," she said. "Martha Speaks," based on the book series, and a new show from the Jim Henson Co. will debut on PBS this fall and an update of "The Electric Company" is expected to premiere in January. "We're trying to find the best fit for everything and give stations access to our legacy pieces like 'Mister Rogers' and give them an option that they can air it but also make room for new [programs]."
posted by k8t at 1:26 AM on July 29, 2008

Urban renewal. And nobody but poor folk ride that trolley these days, so tear up the tracks and widen the streets.
posted by pracowity at 3:37 AM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]

My daughter and I watch PBS Kids every day. In fact, it's on right now. And I can assure you there is nothing even remotely approaching the quality of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on there now. WHYY here in Philadelphia only plays him at 6am on Sunday mornings, which sucks.

They'll be getting a letter from me.
posted by chihiro at 6:12 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

I wonder if there isn't some value in teaching that life goes on and all things must pass. Even Sesame Street is going to reach a watershed at some point -- it's approaching its 40th season and the remaining original cast members are growing old.

Oh, but if they're doing a new version of The Electric Company, it had BETTER start with Rita Moreno yelling "Hey you guyyyyyyyssss!!!"
posted by evilcolonel at 6:43 AM on July 29, 2008

So we should teach about life by removing something meaningful and replacing it with... reruns of Clifford the Big Red Dog?
posted by Madamina at 6:46 AM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]

evilcolonel: That's the only thing I remember about that show, so it must have been a good lead-in.
posted by garlic at 7:03 AM on July 29, 2008

I wonder if there isn't some value in teaching that life goes on and all things must pass.

As a matter of fact Mr. Rogers deals with this issue in his usual sensitive, kind, and nuanced way. Mr Rogers is a huge force for good in the world, and I think it would be pretty tragic to let it atrophy out of existence. I'm not kidding.

Do we throw away Goodnight Moon because it looks a little outdated?
posted by dirtdirt at 7:12 AM on July 29, 2008 [5 favorites]

On the one hand, having seen episodes of both Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood recently after watching them as a kid, the latter doesn't seem to have aged so well. On the other, come on -- it's Mister Rogers.
posted by danb at 7:13 AM on July 29, 2008

"I want to think that if Mr. Rogers were alive today, he'd go back to congress and ask for another $20 million to get all the episodes ever filmed archived and available on-line." - one bean

He was a humble guy, and would probably make that case for any educational show as long as it was quality programming. I hope someone steps up to the plate in his place someday, and gives the TV networks the reminder they desperately need.
posted by samsara at 7:28 AM on July 29, 2008

No more Mr. Rogers, but still plenty of that little red fuzzy piece of crap (counterfeit Grover) Elmo.

There is no justice in this world when you're a tiny person.
posted by Dreama at 7:33 AM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]

Everytime the 'Filter brings up Mr Rogers, I fall back into my sentimentality and find myself perusing the old MeFi threads and the YouTube links...

And I weep.
posted by grubi at 7:47 AM on July 29, 2008

The show looks "dated"? The show is for young children - they have no idea what "dated" looks like unless they are also being fed a steady diet of Disney Channel and Nick Jr., or even compared to other PBS fare like the recently updated Sesame Street, now with 20% less learning and 50% more New York City accents. It's just a thing on TV. They won't know it's dated unless they are told that it is, or they have a lot of something else to compare it to.

Give me a TV that connects to the internet, put this stuff into a YouTube channel, and once and for all let's cut out the middlemen. It should be nakedly obvious to anyone paying attention that the job of television network programmers, even at PBS, is to keep the masses dumb and spending. And because kids brains are so damn eager to learn, you've got to start them on stupidity early if you want them to have any hope of diligently reading Newsweek and watching cable news as adults.

Do we throw away Goodnight Moon because it looks a little outdated?
posted by dirtdirt at 10:12 AM on July 29

Absolutely! Got to make way for the Dora and Pixar merchandising tie-ins! The complete unwillingness of this country to promote high standards and excellence in educational programming and children's media is beyond embarrassing and beyond shameful. It's child abuse.

So go ahead, take Mr. Rogers off the air. You can replace it with a Baby Einstein video from Disney, which I'm sure they'll let you have cheap. Or better yet, why not take the whole network off the air? No one's watching it anyway. I can assure you my kids have no use for Antiques Roadshow or Motor Week, and the BBC stuff you cleverly try to pass of as your own we can get from Netflix.

Or maybe somewhere in that PBS management hierarchy of grown-up trust fund babies, there is an intern with a rebellious streak who'll commandeer the satellite feed and push down old reruns of Cosmos and Dr. Miller's science experiments during the Sesame Street hour. You'll never see your ratings so high.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:00 AM on July 29, 2008 [11 favorites]

And there is no truth to the rumors that he was a Vietnam vet, a sniper with dozens of kills, and no, he didn't have full sleeves of tatoos either. Please make these rumors stop.
posted by fixedgear at 8:51 AM on July 29, 2008

Dear PBS,
It's great to be able to stop
When you've planned a thing that's wrong
And be able to do something else instead.

"There is no shortage of things that are shallow and complex," he said. "We need more television, more movies, more art that is deep and simple."
posted by zennie at 9:35 AM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]

Pasta, you completely and utterly outdid yourself the last time you commented on Fred Rogers and are hereby banned from any further commenting on the topic.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:39 AM on July 29, 2008

If any of you haven't seen Pastabagel's comment that allkindsoftime linked to, I highly recommend you read it. Simply put, it's in contention for the best comment ever written on this site.
posted by azpenguin at 10:00 AM on July 29, 2008

You would think that rather than "beaming" these shows out there, they could do something like torrent them, have them available to any station that wanted them, and go.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:03 AM on July 29, 2008

This is really sad.
posted by jokeefe at 11:15 AM on July 29, 2008

And because this news comes the same day that Scrabulous has been pried from my cold, dead, hands (Note: hands not currently exactly as advertised) I'm going to just reiterate that you should all read pastabagel's fantastic comment linked above by allkindsoftime.
posted by jokeefe at 11:19 AM on July 29, 2008

I was watching Mr. Rogers this morning and there was about 10 minutes of opera singing and 15 minutes on how a sweater is made in a factory -- a short sleeved sweater!!!! Where else will I be able to watch this combination of puppets, sweaters, and opera with my child??
posted by mattbucher at 1:37 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

"I want to think that if Mr. Rogers were alive today, he'd go back to congress and ask for another $20 million to get all the episodes ever filmed archived and available on-line."

That clip, along with "Otters Holding Hands", is a staple of my program to use YouTube as an anti-depressant. If it was in a movie, you'd call it unbelievable and simplistic. No way is a real senator that grumpy to Mr. Rogers! No way could that much change in six minutes.

No way did that just fucking happen.

God, I love that clip.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:32 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

I don't necessarily disagree with the sentiments in favour of keeping him on. But the last time I happened to catch a rerun, it included a visit to a factory that made player piano rolls.

I mean, friggin' player piano rolls.
posted by evilcolonel at 11:21 PM on July 29, 2008

I can't remember the last time I've seen Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in the local lineup.

We need more Arthur.
posted by healthytext at 4:27 AM on July 30, 2008

I mean, friggin' player piano rolls.

I know, that sounds awesome! I'd love to see how those things work.
posted by zennie at 7:34 AM on July 30, 2008

There are many ways to say "you're cancelled"...
posted by aiq at 9:59 AM on July 30, 2008

This completely sucks. I'm sure PBS will be happy to sell past episodes on DVD, for a price.
posted by mecran01 at 5:40 PM on August 3, 2008

PastaBagel: "... who'll commandeer the satellite feed and push down old reruns of Cosmos and Dr. Miller's science experiments..."

Julius Sumner Miller

Don't get me wrong. I love Fred Rogers as much as the next 13th Gen latchkey kid still living today. However, the way a lot of you hem and haw about Rogers? That's how I feel about Miller.

His stuff shoulda been playing right after or right before Mr. Rogers. Every day. Instead, I was lucky on very rare occasions to find several of his eps playing at the same time, usually late on a Saturday night or early on a Sunday morning, as if PBS was playing them in a row for high school teachers to record on their Betamaxes (we're talking late 70s here if memory serves). Finding him on PBS early on a Sunday morning was like striking the mother lode. Mom and Dad didn't know about it cuz I snuck downstairs. I kept the volume way low and practically put my eyeballs on the screen. Maybe Miller's why I need glasses today, but I don't care. I didn't know any better, but I thought they played Miller's stuff when I was supposed to be sleeping cuz this was the stuff they didn't want kids my age to see.

Julius' stuff was awesome, and he didn't talk to me like I was a kid. That's the mistake Rogers always made with me. Julius talked to me like I was a fellow enthusiast about how the world - the UNIVERSE - works. I was less than ten years old but he talked to that camera as if he were discussing things with a social equal. "Come here and see what cool stuff this can do!"

I liked and respected Mr. Rogers, and I woulda shook his hand if I'd met him.

I adored and worshipped Mr. Miller, and if I'd ever met him, I woulda given him my rootbeer and cookies.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:21 PM on August 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

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