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“Mister Rogers and Me” documentary airs July 15, 8 p.m.

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  • Julie Thomas
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Mister Rogers

Benjamin Wagner first met “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” creator and star, Fred Rogers, at Rogers’ summer home on Nantucket, Massachusetts. His mother rented the cottage next door, so Mister Rogers really was his neighbor. 

On the afternoon of their first meeting, “America’s Favorite Neighbor” asked the young journalist about his job as an MTV News producer.  Wagner felt exposed and a tiny-bit embarrassed, a PBS mind in a jump-cut, sound-bit MTV world.

Mister Rogers said warmly, "I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex."

Later, Rogers told Wagner, "Spread the message, Benjamin."

After Rogers’ death in 2003, Wagner and his brother, Christofer, set out to meet some of Mister Rogers’ neighbors to find out more about the man himself, what he meant by “deep and simple,” and with whom in our junk food culture those values endure.

The brothers’ travels led them to Durham, North Carolina, where Mister Rogers' friend, mystic, activist and author of “Deep & Simple,” Bo Lozoff, shared three core tenants of a deeper life.

Don’t miss this award-winning, acclaimed film about a man who inspired a generation and continues to spread his kind outlook with us all.

TUNE IN:

"Mister Rogers and Me" airs Sunday, July 15 at 8 p.m. on AETN.