“Mister Rogers & Me” DVD, Broadcast & Theatrical Released Details Revealed

October 26th, 2011

I first met “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” creator and star, Fred Rogers, at his summer home on Nantucket, Massachusetts, on the eve of my thirtieth birthday.

My mother rented the cottage next door, so Mister Rogers really was my neighbor.

On the afternoon of our first meeting, “America’s Favorite Neighbor” asked me about my job as an MTV News producer. I felt a tiny bit exposed and embarrassed; I was just a PBS mind in a jump-cut, sound-bit MTV world. He was an icon of thoughtful, substantive programming.

Mister Rogers said warmly, “I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than complex.”

One year and many “deep and simple” conversations later, Mister Rogers encouraged me to, ‘Spread the message.”

After Mister Rogers’ death in 2003, my brother, Christofer, and I set out to meet some of Mister Rogers’ neighbors to find out more about the man himself, and what he meant by “deep and simple.”

Ten years after that first, life-changing conversation, our “deep and simple” journey is recounted in “Mister Rogers & Me,” a brand-new documentary due March 2012 on PBS Home Video.

I announced release details at the Q&A session after Monday’s Paley Center premiere. As David Newell (aka Mr. McFeely), Mark Brown (“Arthur” creator), and Angela Santomero (“Blue’s Clues” and “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” creator) looked on, I revealed the following:

“Mister Rogers & Me” will be released on PBS DVD, iTunes and Netflix in March 2012. A portion of proceeds will benefit Fred Rogers Center in Latrobe, PA.

Next week, PBS Distribution’s Amy Letourneau (who has championed the film there, and who I met through my Space Station founder Matt Mills) will represent “Mister Rogers & Me” at American Public Television’s annual conference in Memphis. There, she will work on our behalf to syndicate a 58:00 version of the film to PBS affiliates around the country. We’ll know where the film will screen by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, I have been assembling a theatrical tour that will include screening and Q&As in Nantucket, MA; Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Latrobe, PA; Washington, DC, and St. Louis, MO, and with additional cities and details to be announced.

Chris and I, meanwhile, are knee deep in deliverables: platform-specific post production, licensing documentation and bonus materials to help “Mister Rogers & Me” come to life. Please stay tuned for details.

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  • Benjamin Wagner first met “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” creator and star, Fred Rogers, at Rogers’ summer home on Nantucket, Massachusetts. His mother rented the cottage next door, so Mister Rogers really was his neighbor. On the afternoon of their first meeting, “America’s Favorite Neighbor” asked the young journalist about his job as an MTV News producer.  Wagner felt exposed and a tiny-bit embarrassed, a PBS mind in a jump-cut, sound-bit MTV world. Mister Rogers said warml ...
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