A new streaming service for children has a goal of countering the progressive messages found in Disney content, and one of its flagship shows is already drawing comparisons to the classic PBS series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Bentkey, the new streaming service from The Daily Wire, launched in October with 150-plus episodes from 16 shows, which Daily Wire co-founder Jeremy Boreing says will be free of the “woke Left” messages and themes found in the content on Disney and other mainstream platforms.
Significantly, though, Boreing says Bentkey will be free of politics and cultural controversies. Instead, Bentkey will focus on content that champions “wonder and adventure” for children. The Daily Wire says it is pouring $100 million into kids’ entertainment.
One of its flagship series is A Wonderful Day With Mabel Maclay, which follows an energetic red-headed woman named Mabel as she partners with her dog, Jasper, to explore the world. Much like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, each episode begins with Mabel walking into her home and talking to children through the camera. Bentkey says the series will follow Mabel and Jasper as they “make neat gadgets, complete fun projects, visit with interesting friends, sing sweet songs, and read charming books.”
The husband and wife team of Ryan and Katy Chase are executive producers. Katy portrays Mabel. They call it a “dream project.”
“Their vision was to create really joyful, imaginative content. And that’s what we were prepared to do,” Katy told Christian Headlines, referencing the team behind Bentkey. “And we also are parents. And so we [were] really intentional about how we wanted to pace it and what we wanted the tone to feel like. We wanted to make a show that felt the way shows used to kind of feel.”
Both Ryan and Katy grew up watching Mister Rogers. Ryan said the pace of the show is slower than modern shows but a little faster than the one Fred Rogers made famous.
“We wanted to make sure we met modern kids where they are,” Katy said. “We sort of sprinkled in some whimsy — a little bit of Mary Poppins.”
Mirroring the goal of Bentkey, she added that the series focuses on “traditional timeless classic values that everyone agrees on.” For example, the first four shows spotlight creativity, curiosity, perseverance, and optimism.
Katy says the new service fills a void.
“There has been a gap in the market for a place that is just kind of free of anything questionable,” she told Christian Headlines.
Season 1 will include 20 episodes, with a new one dropping each Saturday. Ryan and Katy say they have an endless supply of ideas.
“Our secret weapon is that we have three young kids,” he said, laughing. “And they have never ever been without multiple questions.”
Photo Courtesy: ©Bentkey, used with permission.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
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