Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood has a new person in charge of its affairs.
The Pittsburgh-based TV-production company that focuses largely on educational content for kids said Paul Siefken would become its president and chief executive starting January 1, 2o17. He will succeed Bill Isler, who worked alongside the company’s famous founder and who is retiring. Siefeken joined the company as its vice president of broadcast and digital media in 2013. Kevin Morrison, the company’s chief operating officer, will remain in his post and maintain his oversight of business affairs.
““We have an amazing team in place, and I’m excited to work with them to uphold the legacy of innovation, creativity, and trust that The Fred Rogers Company represents for the next generation of children and parents,” Siefken said in a statement.
Siefken has a long history with developing educational programming for children. Before joining The Fred Rogers Company, Siefken spent nearly ten years at PBS, most recently as director of children’s programming. Prior to that, he managed sponsored promotions and media relations and produced interactive content for Time Warner’s Cartoon Network. Siefken graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a teaching certificate from the Program in Education.
He will oversee a company that was once reliant on repeats of its founder’s iconic PBS program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Fred Rogers Co. , once known as Family Communications, stopped making original episodes of the program in 2001, leaving it with a dwindling revenue stream. But there has been a resurgence in recent years. Siefken joined its ranks after helping to develop the company’s “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” an animated program that teaches many of the same lessons about emotional development that Fred Rogers taught many years ago.
Fred Rogers has in recent years become one of the biggest suppliers of original episodes to PBS’ daily kids line-up. The company also has a hand in “Peg + Cat,” which teaches math skills, and “Odd Squad,” a live-action program about a kids’ spy agency that tackles math and logic problems.
Siefken has supervised the company’s broadcast and digital content and worked with public television stations, museums, science centers, libraries, volunteer organizations, and early childhood groups to provide meaningful content related to the three TV series that supports the aims and priorities of the respective institutions.
“I’ve been fortunate to have had the chance to work closely with Paul for a number of years now, and I know that the company and its mission benefits greatly from his creativity, integrity, and vision. I am confident The Fred Rogers Company will continue to thrive under his capable leadership in the years ahead,” said Isler in a prepared statement.