A New PBS KIDS Series Inspired by Characters From Mister Rogers Is Coming

Daniel Hautzinger
Purple Panda and Donkey Hodie. Photo: Fred Rogers Company
Donkey Hodie is joined in the show by friends like Purple Panda. Photo: Fred Rogers Company

Do you love Mister Rogers? What about Nature Cat? An upcoming PBS KIDS show being filmed at WTTW features Spiffy Pictures, the team behind Nature Cat, in partnership with Fred Rogers Productions. Called Donkey Hodie, the series is meant for children ages 3-5, and takes place in the land of Someplace Else, from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Donkey Hodie follows the brilliantly colored title character on her adventures with friends such as Purple Panda, Duck Duck, and Bob Dog. Donkey Hodie is the granddaughter of a character of the same name originally created by Fred Rogers who appeared in 59 episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (the older puppet is called Grampy Hodie in the new show). In the spirit of Mister Rogers, the show is a puppet series—which plays to the strengths of Spiffy Pictures, given that co-founder David Rudman is a long-time puppeteer who portrays Cookie Monster on Sesame Street and has created other puppet shows with his brother, Spiffy co-founder Adam Rudman.

The new series is inspired by the silly side of Fred Rogers, and will feature both new original music and reimagined versions of Fred Rogers' original songs. It is slated to premiere in winter 2021. 

Fred Rogers with Grampy Hodie, the original Donkey Hodie puppet. Photo: Fred Rogers CompanyFred Rogers with Grampy Hodie, the original Donkey Hodie puppet. Photo: Fred Rogers Company