Mister Rogers Neighborhood is taping its final episodes before the children’s program ends its 33-year run. David Newell has been with the program since it began, first behind the scenes and then for decades as the onscreen character “Mister McFeely.” He visited with children this week at a summer arts program in Des Moines and said Mister Rogers is working on a website.He says the new media will support the older, with Rogers writing books and composing a sky show for planetariums. Newell, appearing as Mister McFeely, says more than three decades of Mister Rogers neighborhood will remain, though programs air next week on Iowa Public TV will be the last new ones.Rogers sees the show as a legacy of tapes for young kids who’ll come along and each discover the program for the first time. Despite the growth of cable and satellite TV channels, Newell says public television has a big teaching role in the lives of children, and he cites Iowa Public TV’s “Ready to Learn Project.”He went to Spencer this week with the program’s representative who meets with daycare providers. Newell says the IPTV program “teaches teachers” who can then work with children on projects like managing anger. The last “new” episodes of Mister Rogers Neighborhood will air on IPTV the final week in August.
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