- - Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mister Rogers is joining scientist Carl Sagan and the snuggie in the pantheon of unlikely viral sensations.

PBS Digital Studios commissioned John D. Boswell (better known as MelodySheep) to make a remix featuring Auto-Tuned clips from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” The result is the surprisingly eerie “Garden of Your Mind” track.

Mr. Boswell is the creator of the “Symphony of Science” remix series, which includes clips from the PBS documentary series “Cosmos.” That space-themed TV series ran in 1978 and 1979 and featured acclaimed scientists.

Those who curate the Rogers legacy praised the video.

“I think that the thing we like about the piece most of all is how it shows that Fred was really ahead of his time,” said Kevin Morrison, COO of the Fred Rogers Co. “The message that it’s good to be curious, to use your imagination, and that ideas are the ‘garden produce’ of a fertile mind was something he stressed throughout his career.”

Fred Rogers hosted the PBS children’s show from 1968 to 2001. He died in 2003 at the age of 74.

PBS said it plans to unveil more viral-style videos featuring the company’s icons of the company.

Returning ‘Dallas’ to premiere on TNT

Working for more than a dozen years on “Dallas” still wasn’t enough to prepare Linda Gray to go back.

“I had to do a lot of homework. I wondered: What did she do in the past 20 years? Who would she be?” asks Miss Gray, who played the troubled Sue Ellen Ewing during the show’s original run on CBS, during a Scripps Howard News Service interview.

“I thought long and hard about what, on a psychological, spiritual and emotional level, she would be like these days.”

Miss Gray — along with former “Dallas” co-stars Patrick Duffy and Larry Hagman — returns for the new “Dallas,” which follows the next generation of the Ewing clan and their backstabbing exploits. The series launches at 9 p.m. Wednesday on TNT.

Cynthia Cidre is executive producer and a writer for the new show. Her credits include the films “The Mambo Kings” and “In Country.” In true Sue Ellen style, Miss Gray met with Ms. Cidre over lunch and picked her brain.

Sue Ellen wouldn’t, for example, turn out to be a lazily rich “Real Housewives” type who would have her scandal-filled life documented for TV. Instead, she’s a woman in her golden years who’s wise because of various tribulations and richer than her former husband, J.R.

But she’s still a mother, one who will stand beside her greedy son, John Ross, even though she’s about to ruin the legacy of his grandmother — Miss Ellie — to make a few dollars.

For Miss Gray, the best part of having Ms. Cidre on board is the fact that she’s a woman. “Most of the time, ‘Dallas’ was written by men,” Miss Gray said.

The soap, which chronicled the saga of the oil-rich Ewing family and their backstabbing ways, was revived with two TV movies in the ‘90s and then faded to black, seemingly permanently.

This next chapter of “Dallas” keeps up with the times. Fighting over an oil company isn’t paramount, for example. Instead, the environmental implications of drilling are.

Morning-show battle seesaws between ‘Today,’ ‘GMA’

It’s hard to keep track of the ratings seesaw between the ABC and NBC morning shows in the weeks since “GMA” snapped “Today’s” 16-year ratings winning streak in April.

For those keeping score, “GMA” has picked off three additional weeks. But critically, “Today” is dominant in the 25-to-54 demo, winning 891 consecutive weeks as of May 25. (The relaunched “This Morning” on CBS continues to lag.)

Still, “Today’s” Matt Lauer said last month that the show and its ratings are not where “I want them to be right now.” And “GMA” has momentum, landing big interviews, including Robin Roberts’ sit-down with President Obama about gay marriage.

Ad buyers polled by the Hollywood Reporter, however, said the ratings back-and-forth has not triggered a radical shift in strategy during the upfronts. (In 2011, “GMA” brought in $598 million in ad revenue, compared with “Today’s” $612 million, according to Kantar Media.)

The ABC sales team, said one buyer, “is out there promoting [‘GMA’s‘ win over ‘Today’] pretty hard.” But even if buyers aren’t tracking the weekly battle, “this was something for 800-some-odd weeks we fought for,” said “GMA” senior executive producer Tom Cibrowski.

“The buzz we get out of these wins is worth its weight in gold,” he said.

• Compiled from Web and wire reports

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