Mr. Rogers Leaving the Hood

OK, kids, can we say “bye bye”?

The Associated Press reports a very sad day in the neighborhood indeed as Fred Rogers, better known as the title host and creator of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” announced his departure from the long-running children’s show over the weekend.

The 71-year-old Rogers, who has hosted the kiddie series for 33 years, will be taping his final episode in 2001.

But devotees of the gentle host need not worry, for Rogers, according to his people, is not retiring. After bidding his sweet adieu to television, Rogers still plans to be active in public life by focusing his energy on his Web sites, various publications and special museum programs.

The series, with Rogers doing his signature act and song every show, first aired in 1967. PBS began airing it nationwide the next year.