It’s going to be a beautiful day on the internet May 15, as Twitch will start a 17-day free marathon of all 886 episodes of iconic children’s show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” on the gaming-focused streaming service — including many episodes that have only aired once.
Gamers can slip on their cardigans and kick back starting at noon PT for a marathon viewing experience that runs through June 2, and can be found at www.twitch.tv/misterrogers. Twitch will also run a fundraising campaign during the event to encourage donations to local PBS affiliates, and the marathon will begin with “Mister Rogers” creator Fred Rogers’ Senate testimony about the value of public television, which he gave 48 years ago this month.
“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” first hit airwaves in 1968 and was beamed into millions of living rooms on PBS for decades, educating generations of children and letting them know people like them just the way they are. Twitch will air every episode in order during its marathon, which will be followed by mini-marathons in following weeks to allow viewers who may have missed the first run to catch up on some episodes.
“From listening to feedback, it became clear that the Twitch community has not only embraced content which goes beyond gaming, they want more of it,” Bill Moorier, Head of Creative at Twitch, said in a statement. “We were drawn to ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ because Fred Rogers was a positive voice in fostering inclusivity and diversity, and, like our streamers, he talked to the viewers as if they were in the room with him. While his show was geared toward children, his messages have universal appeal.”
“Fred Rogers created a blueprint for children’s television that still works today, and his messages of acceptance and inclusion remain just as timeless and relevant as they did when ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ first aired,” Paul Siefken, President and CEO of The Fred Rogers Company, said in the statement. “We are delighted to be working with Twitch to make the show available to fans, as well as reach a whole new whole new audience that did not grow up watching the program.”
“Fred Rogers believed in the boundless potential of all children, and his landmark educational philosophy continues to guide our work today at PBS Kids,” Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Children’s Media and Education, PBS, said in the statement. “We are excited to bring ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ to the Twitch community in this special event, honoring Fred’s legacy, and encouraging fans to support the important work that local PBS stations do to help all children learn and succeed.”