Tom Grosh tipped me off to the end for Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on many PBS station. (Tom, in turn, was tipped off by Scot McKnight’s blog.) Tom also posted this great video paying tribute to Fred Rogers, who, I am glad to say, my children have gotten to know.
A while back, on a random Wikipedia reading spree, I read up on the Teletubbies. Their entry contains this statement regarding the show’s relatively short production run (only 4 years of new shows were ever created):
However, since the four years of production had exceeded the target audience’s age span, it was deemed that continuation was unnecessary, and the existing 365 episodes will be played in re-runs for years to come.
Compare this attitude to that of Fred Rogers. Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was produced from 1968 to 2001, over 33 years. From 1962 to 1968, Fred Rogers had a similar show in Canada. As many people know, Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister, specifically charged with ministry to children through television. (Would that all those in “secular” industries could receive theological training and be ordained to work in their particular vocations!)
Fred Rogers’ personal concern for the children who watched him shine through in every episode, and I cannot imagine him ending production because no 30-year-old would be expecting a new episode.