He's been a gentle uncle figure for generations of youngsters, so who better to offer some advice on how best to approach that enormous event in a youngster's life, the first day of school?
Fred Rogers of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" this week is offering a series of programs aimed at helping preschoolers be more comfortable as they face that looming engagement in the first week of September.
The show can be seen at 10 a.m. weekdays on Maryland Public Television (channels 22 and 67).
"Children need to see that many things in school are a lot like home," says Rogers, who takes young viewers on a visit to a real school.
In addition to the program, Rogers has produced a free booklet for parents, "When Your Child Goes to School." For a copy send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: School, c/o Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, 4802 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15213.
A series of 30-second public service messages featuring Rogers addressing the same questions can also be seen on PBS stations this month.
CASES CLOSED? -- One of the attractions of cable television is its supposed ability to "narrowcast" programming to more specific audiences than the broadcast networks. In turn, that reduces the pressure to produce big ratings quickly, the single biggest reason so many broadcast series are canceled after only short appearances.
So what's up with "Veronica Clare" and Lifetime?
The moody noir detective drama (Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on the basic service), with Laura Robinson as a vampish part-time investigator, premiered July 23 as one of the female-oriented network's first prime-time series. Yet it is being pulled from the schedule as of Sept. 24.
Sheesh. Even "Hello, Larry" and "My Mother the Car" got more than nine episodes.
Although somewhat sluggish in early outings, Media Monitor thought the show had some promise.
Lifetime spokesman Alex Wagner says, however, that "Veronica Clare" will be reworked and that the network is still committed to the show.
"We're shutting down to address creative concerns, with the idea of rewriting," he says, noting that early ratings for the show were pretty respectable.
NEW DIGS -- WBFF-Channel 45 has finally fully occupied its new station headquarters, the former bottling plant on 41st Street at the foot of TV Hill, occupied since June only by the station's news operation.
Other departments, however, moved in late last week. Northbound Jones Falls Expressway drivers can see the station's new sign logo on the building, and the station has gained a new central telephone number in the moving process. Viewers should now call Channel 45 at 467-4545.