The Atlantic

The Daniel Tiger Doctrine

The creator of the beloved kids’ show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood talks about what makes great children’s TV—and reveals a significant plot development in the upcoming season.
Source: Courtesy of The Fred Rogers Company

There’s a particular type of parent whom Angela Santomero, the creator of a number of children’s shows including Blue’s Clues, Super Why!, and PBS’s Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and author of Preschool Clues, encounters a lot: the guilty-feeling, screen time–loving parent. “Is it okay to let my child watch TV in general? Is that okay?” Santomero says she gets asked. “Is it okay that I need that break and I’m letting my child watch TV?”

Santomero believes that parents can and should be able to plop their kids down in front of a television screen when they need a moment, but in return it’s television’s responsibility to be a helpful babysitter. It’s a belief she shares with the creator of the show that inspired Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Fred Rogers, who hosted Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for the entirety of its 33-year run until it ended in 2001.

follows Daniel Tiger—son of the beloved puppet Daniel Striped Tiger and his wife, known on the show only as Mom Tiger—as he navigates his preschool years. The supporting characters still live (such as Henrietta Pussycat and Mr. McFeely), but now with their spouses and children.

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