Behind the Scenes with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

Lisa Condit spoke with Jeremy Dobrish, scriptwriter for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live: King for a Day! Listen to the full September 16 WCRN interview below or read on for highlights.

Lisa: The job you have is to infuse positivity into everything you do.

Jeremy: I grew up on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and Daniel Tiger is sort of the heir to that throne, and it really does focus on the same kinds of messaging. It’s very positive. It’s really wonderful for the kids. Having been through that kind of programming, and then to be a part of making it live and taking it out to theaters like yours, is just so much fun and meaningful. I have two daughters, and I always think about them.

Lisa: How can you not be happy when you’re thinking about “tigertastic fun”? This is based in educational programming and instilling great character development in a fun way.

Jeremy: That’s why it’s so successful. When I’m writing it, I work hand in hand with the folks at the Fred Rogers Company, and they are experts at this. They understand that what Daniel is going through is exactly what kids are experiencing. They have a real insight into what these kids are ready to learn, want to learn, and what developmentally makes sense for them.


Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: King for a Day!Lisa: I also have a daughter. It really was a valuable part of her childhood when we were watching her favorite educational programming together, and it was a great way for us to bond. I remember taking her to live shows, and it really brought everything to life for her.

Jeremy: My job really is to adapt the characters and style of the show into this new format. We’ll take an episode that we really love and we’ll expand and fill in with elements from other episodes that fit, and of course we’ll make up some new stuff.

When the kids come in, that’s the greatest joy. I love being in the theatre and seeing the kids come in before the show starts. A lot of them are coming to the theatre for the first time. They don’t know that the characters are actually going to be talking to them. That’s magical. To be able to give that magic of the theatre to so many children for the first time feels wonderful.

What is your child’s favorite television show?