Fred Rogers Productions, the award-winning children’s educational media organization behind Emmy-winning PBS KIDS series, including Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, has partnered with Warner Music Group’s Arts Music division to release the music from Donkey Hodie, the hit preschool series on PBS KIDS. The series is inspired by the funny, quirky side of children’s television pioneer Fred Rogers and showcases reimagined music and characters from the beloved Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Series music director, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning composer Bill Sherman (In the Heights, Hamilton, Sesame Street), produced the album.
“We are very excited to bring the joyful music of Donkey Hodie to kids and families everywhere,” said Matt Shiels, Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs, Fred Rogers Productions. “Warner Music Group’s Arts Music division and Bill Sherman have been instrumental in helping to reinforce the can-do spirit of the series while furthering the music and positive messages of Fred Rogers for today’s generation of young listeners.”
“There is so much to love about these songs and so much love in them. Not only do they encourage kids to be persistent, curious, and creative, but they sound amazing and are full of joy,” said Andrea Craig, Senior Vice President, Warner Music Group’s Arts Music division. “Donkey Hodie songs are really for all of us who try every day to do hard things, and grown-ups will love them, too. It’s a privilege to work alongside the team at Fred Rogers Productions to bring them to the world.”
“Donkey Hodie prioritizes music as an integral part of the series’ storytelling, just as Fred Rogers did in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. It is an honor to build upon his legacy and to have the opportunity to incorporate new ideas, voices, and a variety of musical genres to create a seamless sound that is distinctly ours,” said Sherman. “I am thrilled to collaborate with Fred Rogers Productions and Warner Music Group’s Arts Music division to make the music of Donkey Hodie available to kids everywhere.”
The new album features 16 tracks, including the series theme song as well as three original Fred Rogers songs from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood – “You’ve Got to Do It,” “Today is New,” and “I Like to Take My Time” – with new compositions and arrangements by Sherman for Donkey Hodie. Adam Rudman and David Rudman, Co-Founders of Spiffy Pictures, which produces Donkey Hodie with Fred Rogers Productions, also penned the lyrics to several songs, including “Let’s Imagine” and “Art Show Today” (David Rudman) and “Feeling Groovy” (Adam Rudman). Numbers on the album are performed by the cast of the series including Haley Jenkins (Donkey Hodie), Frankie Cordero (Purple Panda), Stephanie D’Abruzzo (Duck Duck, Harriett Elizabeth Cow), and David Rudman (Bob Dog, Grampy Hodie).
The news of the album coincides with the rollout of new Donkey Hodie episodes, premiering every Friday in March on PBS KIDS and featuring a song from the new release.
“Here Comes Donkey Hodie” was produced by Sherman, and all songs were mixed by Tyler Hartman, except the Donkey Hodie theme song, which was mixed by Greg Wells. The album was mastered by Matthew Agoglia of The Ranch Mastering, NY.
During the first 20 days of its May 2021 premiere, Donkey Hodie content generated 32.6 million streams, the most for any PBS KIDS series launch in the past five years. On-air, the series posted the highest Kids 2-8 ratings and reach of any PBS KIDS series during its premiere week, reaching 2.7 million TV viewers.* More recently, Donkey Hodie was the #2 PBS KIDS series with Kids 2-8 and also reached 2.4 million parents of young children in January 2022.**