Pittsburgh, PA, March 24, 2022 – Donkey Hodie, the hit puppet series from Fred Rogers Productions and Spiffy Pictures, has been greenlit for a second season on PBS KIDS. The series is produced by Fred Rogers Productions, the award-winning children’s educational media organization behind multiple well-loved, Emmy®-winning PBS KIDS series, including Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and Spiffy Pictures, the award-winning production company behind many acclaimed series for kids and families, including PBS KIDS’ Emmy®-nominated animated hit Nature Cat. Inspired by original characters from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Donkey Hodie is a social-emotional learning series for kids ages 3-5 that empowers viewers to dream big and overcome obstacles through practicing skills including resilience, persistence, and problem solving. Season 2 of the imaginative series is expected to premiere in spring 2023 on PBS KIDS.
“Woven into every light-hearted Donkey Hodie story is the central theme of resilience, which is an essential skill for children — and it’s one that can be learned,” said Ellen Doherty, Chief Creative Officer for Fred Rogers Productions, who developed the show and serves as an executive producer. “Donkey and her pals model positivity and persistence through stories focusing on being flexible and adapting to change, cooperating with your friends, managing big feelings, and more. Giving young children examples of how to overcome obstacles is especially important now given the unique challenges of the last two years.”
“We are excited to tell more silly, surprising, and endearing stories as we dive deeper into these beloved characters’ backstories and introduce kids and their families to some new neighbors and locales of the whimsical world of Someplace Else,” said Adam Rudman and David Rudman, Co-Founders of Spiffy Pictures, who created the show and serve as executive producers.
“Since its premiere last year, Donkey Hodie has brought engaging stories full of fun, humor, and important life lessons to kids across the country, helping them to see a world of possibilities,” said Sara DeWitt, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Children’s Media and Education, PBS. “We couldn’t be happier to bring a second season of adventures from Donkey and her friends to PBS KIDS.”
Season 2 of Donkey Hodie will feature 25 half-hour episodes including two specials. This season will introduce viewers to new pals and locations in Someplace Else, a world where everyone is welcome and can pursue their big dreams. They’ll also learn more about the series’ main characters, Donkey Hodie, Purple Panda, Duck Duck, and Bob Dog. The new season will explore all-new stories while modeling and practicing key learning goals, including empathy, perspective-taking, understanding and managing feelings, and more.
Inspired by the funny, quirky side of children’s television pioneer Fred Rogers, Donkey Hodie is set in the whimsical land of Someplace Else. The imaginative puppet series follows the adventures of Donkey Hodie, an enthusiastic and charming go-getter who takes on each day with curiosity and resilience, and her pals: Purple Panda, her loyal and empathetic best friend who wears his big heart on his sleeve; Duck Duck, a practical, quick-witted young mallard who loves to figure things out; and Bob Dog, an energetic and eager canine who is always ready to fetch a ball or boogie to music.
In January 2022, Donkey Hodie was the #2 PBS KIDS series with Kids 2-8 and also
reached 2.4 million parents of young children.* The series has earned nominations for a
2021 Television Critics Association Award (Outstanding Achievement in Youth
Programming); 2021 Kidscreen Award (Best Website: Digital - Preschool); and 2022 Writers Guild of America Award (Children’s Episodic, Long Form, and Specials).
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing is the publishing partner for the series with a wide
range of books that began rolling out in December 2021. Licensing Street, the U.S. licensing agent for the brand, is also developing a full-scale merchandising program for Donkey Hodie. The debut range of toys from Jada Toys, the series’ master toy licensee, is set to begin arriving at retail next spring. Additionally, the first Donkey Hodie album, “Here Comes Donkey Hodie,” in partnership with Warner Music Group’s Arts Music division, will debut on April 8, 2022. The album will be available on all digital platforms and features 16 tracks from the series, including the theme song as well as three reimagined Fred Rogers songs from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Donkey Hodie is created by Adam Rudman and David Rudman, Co-Founders of Spiffy Pictures, and developed by Ellen Doherty, Chief Creative Officer of Fred Rogers Productions. Executive producers are Ellen Doherty, Adam Rudman, and David Rudman. Supervising Producers are Kristin DiQuollo (Fred Rogers Productions) and Caroline Bandolik (Spiffy Pictures).
* Source: Nielsen National Toolbox NTI Broadcast months, GAA%, Reach% (75% Uni, 1+ Qual.).
About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS believes the world is full of possibilities, and so is every child. As the number one educational media brand for kids, PBS KIDS helps children ages 2-8 learn lessons that last a lifetime. Through media and community-based programs, PBS KIDS wants children to see themselves uniquely reflected and celebrated in lovable, diverse characters who serve as positive role models, and to explore their feelings and discover new adventures along the way. Families can stream PBS KIDS for free anytime, no subscription required. A large collection of mobile apps and pbskids.org provide accessible content that spark kids’ curiosity. PBS KIDS and local stations across the country support the entire ecosystem in which children learn and grow – including their teachers and caregivers, parents, and community – providing resources accessible anytime and anywhere. For more information, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
About Spiffy Pictures
Founded in 2003 by brothers David Rudman and Adam Rudman, Spiffy Pictures is a creative development and production company specializing in family entertainment. The awardwinning team has created, produced, written and directed live-action and animated projects for Nickelodeon, Disney, MTV, Comedy Central, Sesame Street and Warner Brothers. Their projects include the Emmy®-nominated and Environmental Media Award-winning hit animated series Nature Cat for PBS KIDS, the Emmy and Prix Jeunesse- nominated Jack’s Big Music Show for Nick Jr., the Emmy®-nominated Bunnytown for Disney and Nick Jr.’s Parents’ Choice Award-winning Curious Buddies. The company’s additional credits include Scooby- Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map, a puppet adaption of Scooby-Doo! for Warner Brothers, and Frankie and Frank for Nick Worldwide. For more information, visit www.spiffypictures.com.
About Fred Rogers Productions
Fred Rogers Productions was founded by Fred Rogers in 1971 as the non-profit producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for PBS. In the years that followed, it created hundreds of episodes of this much-loved program and extended Fred’s values and approach to other efforts in promoting children’s social, emotional, and behavioral health while supporting parents, caregivers, teachers, and other professionals in their work with children. Fred Rogers Productions continues to build on Fred’s legacy in innovative ways through a wide variety of media and engages new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom. The company’s highly-rated children’s series, including Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Peg + Cat, Odd Squad, and Through the Woods, have earned 30 Emmy® Awards among other important honors. Newly launched in 2021 on PBS KIDS is Donkey Hodie, the innovative puppet series inspired by characters from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood; and most recently Alma’s Way, an animated series created by Sonia Manzano, known to generations of children and adults as “Maria” on Sesame Street. For more information, visit www.fredrogers.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
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Grand Communications (for Fred Rogers Productions)
Dana Green (for Spiffy Pictures)