Angela Santomero – Executive Producer of Blues Clues and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood!

If you and your kids love Blues Clues and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood- listen to this episode and meet the creator and executive producer! Angela Santomero is so multi talented it’s hard to attribute just one or two adjectives to her. But when I think of making a difference and contributing to a positive impact on children, I think of Angela.

Angela began her career in the early 1990’s at Nickelodeon. Her Talents were quickly and easily identified and she became executive producer and writer of the very popular kids show Blues Clues. When Fred Rogers died in 2003, “Kevin Morrison (CEO-Fred Rogers Co.) reached out to Angela and asked what show she would do to honor Fred’s legacy”. Her idea was an animated version of Fred Rogers’ Neighborhood of Make Believe. This was the birth of the very popular Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Angela recently added “best selling author” to the list of credentials as the author of her new book, Radical Kindness. Hopefully we can all make a difference in other people’s lives. Angela and the children’s shows she creates, make an impact that will last a long time!

Show Notes

[02:10] Angela Santomero Backstory

  • Angela has a masters in Child Developmental Psychology.
  • She came to the media industry to educate and study everything about how kids learn and develop, learn, and grow using media.
  • She was influenced by Fred Rogers.

[04:09] The process of creating a character and getting it into television 

  • Angela’s work at Nickelodeon in the research department gave her the insight on what parents are looking for.
  • Being in the TV industry gave her the birds eye view on how to create, and market to the right audience.

[06:01] What is Blue’s Clues

  • Blue’s Clues is about a live action character named Steve with his animated dog Blue in an animated world where she leaves clues to what she wants. Throughout the show, they play games that propel the story forward. 
  • They put key cognitive skills in the show in form of games so that kids can learn from the show.
  • There’s a research where kids who watch Blues Clues scored better on standardized tests with kids who don’t watch the show.

[10:55] How she came up with the concept on her book ” Radical Kindness – The Life-Changing Power of Giving and Receiving”

  • According to Angela, kindness has been the cornerstone of every show. The show does and it started to become apparent that she needed to talk about it in a big way.

[14:46] How to get your show noticed in an age of so much competition 

  • It’s always about the audience, kids, and their secret sauce which is formative research on every episode that showcases the fact that kids want to watch their shows.
  • Their key differentiation with other shows is that kids are actively participating in some way. This includes pointing a clue or singing a song, etc.

[19:20] A story where she felt that everything that they do is all worth it

  • They got a phone call from a mom who had an autistic son and his first word is Steve and Blue

[20:50] Angela’s thoughts on screen time, shorter attention spans, etc.

  • Parents need to make sure that kids have a balance diet and media literacy. 
  • Be weary about YouTube content and offer them something similar or less of it. 

[26:40] What’s next for Angela

  • Right now its about building and supporting the team that she have to be the next level of creators.

[28:00] The biggest struggle with work-life balance

  • She had an amazing opportunity with his husband starting a company. It gave her the flexibility to balance his family and writing. 
  • There were things that she missed from work and family and it’s part of the reality with work-life balance.  

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