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Documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville anticipated that his new project, ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’--about the life and legacy of Fred Rogers--might elicit some emotion. He was not prepared to be confronted with a river of tears wherever it played. Neville tells us how he convinced Rogers’ family and estate to participate in his film and then got fully funded before shooting a frame. Also a news banter that looks ahead to a big ruling on the AT&T acquisition of Time Warner.

Hollywood news banter 6 MIN, 25 SEC

Matt Belloni, editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • A ruling on the AT&T-Time Warner merger is expected June 12. The Justice Department sued to stop the consolidation--a move that may or may not have been politically motivated. If the merger is allowed to go forward, as many believe it will be, it will only increase the trend towards consolidation in the industry.
  • There have been lots of stories about showrunners leaving their home networks to go to Netflix, but one showrunner will be staying put. Greg Berlanti just signed a $400 million deal at Warner Bros TV.


Matt Belloni, Editorial Director of The Hollywood Reporter (@THRMattBelloni)

Director Morgan Neville on 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?' 21 MIN, 4 SEC

Fifty years ago, ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ debuted nationally on public television. Even if you didn’t grow up with the show, you probably know that every episode began with the same ritual.

Mister Rogers would come in through his front door, take off his jacket and put on a colorful cardigan. Then he’d remove his dress shoes in favor of blue sneakers.

All the while, he’d sing the show’s theme song, which ends with a question: "Please won't you be my neighbor?"

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ is also the title of a new documentary that explores the legacy of Fred Rogers, the consummate host of a show that was made for children, but had plenty to teach people of all ages.

The film features interviews with Rogers’ widow and children, as well as the show’s cast and crew--many of who have never spoken publicly about Rogers before.

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ is directed by Morgan Neville, our guest on the show this week.

'Won't You Be My Neighbor' director Morgan Neville

Neville’s been producing and directing documentaries for the better part of 20 years. He won an Oscar for ‘20 feet From Stardom,’ his 2013 film about backup singers. Even with all that experience, the reaction to his newest project caught him off guard.

He tells us why he thinks people get so emotional over Mister Rogers, how he got Rogers’ family and estate on board with the project, and explains how he managed to get fully funded before shooting a frame.

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ trailer

Morgan Neville, filmmaker (@MorganNeville)


Image of David Newell (left) and Fred Rogers (right) from the show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood in the film, WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, a Focus Features release. Courtesy of Lynn Johnson.

Kim Masters

Kaitlin Parker

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