Fred Rogers Productions, the award-winning children’s educational media organisation 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. Here Comes Donkey Hodie will be available on all digital platforms on 8 April. The new release is available for pre-save now and will be available to pre-order starting 18 March with two songs, Donkey Hodie (Theme Song) and You’ve Got to Do It, also available to stream on 18 March. Series music director, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning composer Bill Sherman (In the Heights, Hamilton, Sesame Street), produced the album.
Fred Rogers Productions VP of Business and Legal Affairs Matt Shiels said, “We are very excited to bring the joyful music of Donkey Hodie to kids and families everywhere. 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.”
Warner Music Group’s Arts Music division SVP Andrea Craig added, “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. 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.”
Sherman also said, “Donkey Hodie prioritises 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. 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, the series posted the highest Kids two to eight ratings and reach of any PBS KIDS series during its content generated 32.6 million streams, the most for any PBS KIDS series launch in the past five years. On-air, the premiere week, reaching 2.7 million TV viewers. More recently, Donkey Hodie was the #2 PBS KIDS series with Kids two to eight years and also reached 2.4 million parents of young children in January 2022.
Donkey Hodie is an imaginative puppet series following the adventures of Donkey Hodie, an enthusiastic and charming go-getter who takes on each day with curiosity and resilience, and her pals Purple Panda, Duck Duck, and Bob Dog. Set in the whimsical land of Someplace Else, the social-emotional series is designed to empower children aged three to five to dream big and overcome obstacles in their own lives, to work hard and persevere in the face of failure, to be resourceful and discover they can solve problems on their own—and to laugh themselves silly along the way.
Donkey Hodie is produced by Fred Rogers Productions and Spiffy Pictures. The series is created by Adam Rudman and David Rudman of Spiffy Pictures and developed by Ellen Doherty, Chief Creative Officer of Fred Rogers Productions. Executive Producers are Doherty, Adam Rudman, and David Rudman.