Samuel Chamberlin Newbury, ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ producer, dies at 69

Samuel Chamberlin Newbury, who served as director of productions for Fred Rogers Co. for nearly three decades, died May 22 at his home in Pittsburgh of cancer. He was 69. Newbury is best remembered as the producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and as right-hand man of the show’s creator and namesake, Fred Rogers. He worked for Rogers’ production company Family Communications, Inc. (now known as Fred Rogers Co.) for 28 years from 1986 until his retirement in 2012.

Fred Rogers goes viral with “Garden of Your Mind” video remix

An Auto-Tuned video of the late PBS icon Fred Rogers is going viral, with more than 700,000 views as of Friday (June 8) afternoon. The three-minute video was remixed by Symphony of Science’s John Boswell for PBS Digital Studios. “When we discovered video mash-up artist John D. Boswell, aka melodysheep, on YouTube,” the PBS studio said in a statement, “we immediately wanted to work together. Turns out that he is a huge Mister Rogers Neighborhood fan, and was thrilled at the chance to pay tribute to one of our heroes.” It’s the first in a series of PBS icon remixes.

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 …

No show in Escondido for Mister Rogers’ ‘successor’

Michael Kinsell imagined that his Michael’s Enchanted Neighborhood show would replace Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on public television. Instead, Kinsell and his dream ended up on The Museum of Hoaxes website, which tracks “dubious claims and mischief of all kinds.”

For at least the past 18 months, the young San Diego man took his plans to a sequence of top entertainment pros, pitching a gala fundraising concert that would pay tribute to the late Fred Rogers while presenting Kinsell as Rogers’ successor. Though the event fizzled last month, leaving an empty concert hall in the San Diego suburb of Escondido on Sunday night, May 31, Kinsell had demonstrated he could come from nowhere, win the assistance of others and nearly reach the spotlight. The 1,500 seats in the hall were to be filled with people who paid $300 or more per seat to support children’s public television; millions more would watch the broadcast as a pledge special. In his quest for pubcasting fame, Kinsell sent e-mails, obtained by Current, in which he touted the “confirmed” luminaries who would appear at the tribute: Andy Williams, Bill Cosby, Christina Aguilera, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, President Bill Clinton, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and first lady Maria Shriver.

PBS objects to fundraiser by ‘successor’ to Mister Rogers

PBS is accusing a San Diego teenager of “falsely claiming association” with the network and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He is selling tickets for a May 31 gala event where, according to a news release by his publicist, he will present himself as successor to the late Fred Rogers. Michael Kinsell, who told Current he is 18, said he has produced six episodes of a new show, Michael’s Enchanted Neighborhood. Kinsell described the benefit event, to be held at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, as a tribute to Rogers that will raise funds for “children’s public television” and, he hopes, for his own new show. He said he invited members of Rogers’ family to receive a Children’s Hero Award in Rogers’ honor and said he will give $10,000 in mid-June to Family Communications Inc., Rogers’ production company in Pittsburgh.