Classic Mister Rogers' Neighborhood character inspires new PBS series
A beloved neighbor is coming back to town.
Nearly 20 years after Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood went off the air, PBS is introducing the children’s series Donkey Hodie, inspired by a character of the same name from Fred Rogers’ beloved program. It’s slated to premiere nationwide on PBS stations, the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel, and PBS KIDS digital platforms in winter 2021.
The puppet series follows the adventures of Donkey Hodie, the granddaughter of the original Donkey Hodie character (now known as “Grampy Hodie”), a puppet who appeared in 59 episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood from 1968 to 1993.
The new title is billed as a “social-emotional-series” to help children ages 3-5 “navigate the frustrations and challenges of childhood.” It takes place in the land of Someplace Else, which was created by Rogers on his titular program.
In each episode, Donkey Hodie, a sweet, yellow donkey with a magenta mohawk, along with her friends Purple Panda, Duck Duck, and Bob Dog, empower preschoolers to dream big, work hard, overcome obstacles, and laugh along the way.
New, original music will be featured on Donkey Hodie — along with reimagined versions of Rogers’ original songs — to complement each story’s message. Every 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.
Along with the TV series, Donkey Hodie (a play on Miguel de Cervantes’ classic Don Quixote) will offer digital content such as games and learning materials, that will launch in tandem with the series on platforms like pbskids.org and the free PBS KIDS Games App.
The upcoming show follows in the footsteps of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, another children’s series based on a puppet character from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The show debuted on PBS Kids in 2012 and was renewed for a fifth season in July.