Beginning next week, Twitch will host an 18-day, 886-episode marathon of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The marathon’s channel will feature a “donation panel” where viewers can donate money, with all proceeds going to local PBS stations.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Jane Weedon, Twitch’s director of business development, hinted that the marathon was knock against the Trump administration’s proposal to cut funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “Mister Rogers not only brings a different type of show into the mix, but it is coming at a time when the importance of PBS is very topical,” she said.
Obviously, to some extent, this could be an attempt by Twitch to capitalize on users’ desire to embrace nostalgia. Mister Rogers is a childhood classic for many, and an 18-day marathon is just weird enough to make reruns of an old television show feel like an event.
At the same time, it’s possible that if funding to the CPB is cut off, corporations will see a gap in programming that they have the power to fill. Sesame Street recently moved to HBO due to a lack of money, but unlike an HBO subscription, the Twitch marathon is free. Twitch has already streamed other PBS programs like Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting and Julia Child’s The French Chef.
The marathon will begin on May 15th at 3PM ET. You can watch it at twitch.tv/misterrogers.