Fred Rogers Productions’ Donkey Hodie to Launch in May
Donkey Hodie, the newest series from Fred Rogers Productions, home of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and Spiffy Pictures (Nature Cat), launches May 3 on PBS KIDS. Inspired by the funny, quirky side of beloved children’s TV pioneer Fred Rogers, the imaginative puppet series for preschoolers follows the adventures of Donkey Hodie, a “can-do” little yellow donkey with a bright magenta mane – and the granddaughter of the original Donkey Hodie character from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Donkey Hodie is a whimsical, imaginative new puppet series that encourages preschoolers to aim high, embrace challenges and work hard to achieve their goals. The series is set in the colorful world of Someplace Else (which fans may also recognize from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, along with other such “Easter eggs” from the original show), where Donkey Hodie and her best pals, Purple Panda, Bob Dog, and Duck Duck, help empower young viewers to dream big and overcome obstacles, work hard and persevere, be resourceful, and discover they can solve problems on their own – and laugh themselves silly all along the way! Each episode features catchy original tunes as well as reimagined versions of Fred Rogers’ songs that reinforce the stories’ positive messages and fun adventures.
Just a few of the new series’ additional special nods to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood are the décor in Donkey’s home that recalls iconic elements from the original show like Trolley, the fish tank, and stoplight; the cobblestone path in Someplace Else, which is very similar to the one in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe as well as in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood; and the porch swing at Grampy Hodie’s house, which mirrors the same set piece from Mister Rogers’ TV home.
Master puppeteers Adam Rudman and David Rudman, are co-founders of Spiffy Pictures, and David, who is behind several puppet characters in the new series, is also the longtime puppeteer behind the iconic Cookie Monster. He’s joined by other Sesame Street veteran puppeteers on this series, including Haley Jenkins (Donkey Hodie), Frankie Cordero (Purple Panda), and Stephanie D’Abruzzo (Duck Duck and Harriett Elizabeth Cow).