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Mar 3, 2003  •  Post A Comment

‘Mister Rogers’ dead at 74
Fred Rogers, host of the long-running PBS children’s show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” died Thursday at his home in Pittsburgh of cancer. He was 74.
He was born Fred McFeely Rogers in Latrobe, Pa., on March 20, 1928, and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1963. In 1966, he decided to combine the ministry, his background in music composition and psychology and an early career in puppetry and TV production into “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” for Pittsburgh’s public TV station. It was first regularly shown nationwide in 1968.
He spoke slowly and calmly, and started every episode by removing his jacket and putting on a cardigan sweater, and taking off his shoes and switching to sneakers.
“He was one of the first people on TV who actually seemed to listen to children,” said Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of PBS. “We see a lot of children’s programming in which people talk at them. His role was to listen to children, and in doing so, he heard the most amazing things.”
“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” produced at WQED-TV, Pittsburgh, aired its final new show in August 2001.
Mr. Rogers was the recipient of two Peabody Awards, four Emmys, a “Lifetime Achievement” award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. He is survived by his wife, Joanne, two sons and two grandsons.
Gellar’s exit kills `Buffy’; `Angel’ in jeopardy
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon could go from having three series on the air this season to none next season.
With “Buffy” star Sarah Michelle Gellar’s deciding not to sign on for another year, UPN announced that the series will end its seven-year run Tuesday, May 20, with an episode written by Mr. Whedon. “Buffy” spinoff “Angel” is in its final year of a four-year deal and isn’t a lock to return to The WB’s schedule. And Fox’s freshman drama “Firefly” was cancelled before the end of last year.
UPN Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff said they have been talking the past few months and are still talking to Mr. Whedon and studio 20th Century Fox Television about a “Buffy” spinoff, but no decisions have been made.
Over at The WB, Entertainment President Jordan Levin said they haven’t decided whether or not to renew “Angel,” but “we’re talking to 20th. We don’t believe we’re in jeopardy or risk of losing the show at this point in time.” He said the network will look at how well the show performs the rest of the season, the direction for next season and how the network’s overall development for next season turns out before they can make a decision on the show.
If The WB doesn’t renew “Angel,” 20th could shop the show around with UPN, a likely destination since it outbid The WB for “Buffy” when its renewal came up. “I couldn’t even comment on that because we haven’t even thought about that,” Ms. Ostroff said.
Oprah joins billionaires list
Oprah Winfrey has joined Forbes magazine’s list of billionaires, marking the first time a black woman has made the cut.
Ms. Winfrey, whose net worth was listed at $1 billion, joins the list two years after Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson became the first black billionaire.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates led the list for the ninth straight year, but his net worth fell 23 percent from a year ago to $40.7 billion. Investment guru Warren Buffett remained in second place with $30.5 billion, a 13 percent drop from last year.
Membership in the exclusive club fell by 21 this year to 476, the third year of declines since the economy weakened and stock markets started falling. The group’s combined wealth fell to $1.4 trillion from $1.54 trillion last year.