A series of special events featuring Mr. Steve — PBS Kids host Steve Roslonek — “bolstered people’s perception of the value of our Kids Club,” Simmons said. (Photo: Kylea Knecht/BYU.)

PubTV tests new approaches for fundraising with kids’ TV

This reluctance to fundraise around children’s shows is “a conundrum,” Rotenberg said in an interview. “Kids’ programming is probably the most recognized and valued service that we offer ... And yet it seems that, as a community, we shy away from it.”

It’s a beautiful day for return to Make-Believe

In honor of its 40th anniversary on public TV, the famous Mister Rogers Neighborhood of Make-Believe set, including King Friday XIII’s castle, will be assembled for public viewing one last time, Nov. 6–8 [2009] at Pittsburgh’s WQED. Much of the large set has been warehoused ...

Young promoter cancels his debut as Fred Rogers’ successor

Michael Kinsell, who planned to present himself as the next Mister Rogers at a controversial gala on Sunday in San Diego, told Current in an e-mail Thursday night that he is canceling the show. Kinsell, who said he is 18, had publicized the May 31 fundraising event as a star-studded posthumous tribute to the famous host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

It’s all been good for whatshisname since he was rejected by the dump

A wayward, 6-foot stuffed gorilla arrived at WDSE-TV in Duluth, Minn. in time for the annual Kids Club Circus last week. Its former owner tried to leave it at a landfill but the gorilla was turned away (it wasn’t construction debris), and it fell from the truck into the path of a state official’s car. A state trooper somehow sensed WDSE would adopt. The star of Martha Speaks (shown at right with Sgt.

Here I am, your special PBS Kids Island (come to me, come to me)

PBS Kids Island, an online amusement park located on the Raising Readers website (www.readytolearnreading.org), offers learning games created by producers of Super Why!, Word World, Sesame Street and Between the Lions, most collected from their separate sites, grouped by reading skill and divided into three levels of difficulty. On the cartoony Island, kids can choose games to play from a carousel ride and win tickets they can use to buy things from the prize booth — video downloads, printable games and coloring sheets. In their own tree house, a kid can stash or play with their prizes and display their awards. Project advisors who work with low-scoring schools eligible for federal Title 1 aid encouraged PBS to give kids the opportunity to choose activities on their own on the Island, because low-income kids don’t get to make many choices or take risks or try experiments, says Sharon Philippart, project director for Raising Readers at PBS. Parents, teachers or caregivers sign up their kids and can monitor their progress through the levels.

Fred Rogers: ‘No matter where he was, a lot of love came through’

Fred Rogers occupied a quiet corner of the tumultuous television landscape, but his influence was profound and borne of the kindness, love and honesty he inspired in people. Witness the outpouring of tributes and condolences since Rogers’ death Feb. 27 [2003]. The media overflowed with lengthy obituaries and heartfelt tributes. . . .

Better Saturday competition seen for the kids audience

In a bid to expand its children's franchise into an increasingly competitive daypart, PBS on Sept. 30 will launch Bookworm Bunch, a block of six new animated series slated for Saturday mornings. Produced by Toronto-based Nelvana Communications, Bookworm Bunch is PBS's first offering of original children's fare for weekends — when stations traditionally program their own selection of how-to programs and other fare. PBS created the block as a distinctive alternative to the rock 'em-sock 'em, boy-oriented fare aired by other broadcast networks on Saturdays. "It's a tremendous thing that PBS is doing — something that's almost revolutionary — in presenting American children with an alternative to what I call 'toxic television,'" said Rosemary Wells, author of Timothy Goes to School, one of six children's books to be adapted for TV in the new PBS Kids block.