5 Questions With Blue’s Clues Creator Angela Santomero
5 Questions With Angela Santomero, Creator of Blue’s Clues Among Other Childrens’ TV Shows
By Ella Santomero
Angela Santomero is the Chief Creative Officer at 9 Story Media and an award-winning children’s television show creator. Among Angela’s works are hit shows Blue’s Clues, Super Why, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Creative Galaxy, Wishenpoof, Charlies Colorform City. Angela Santomero has been nominated for more than 25 Emmy awards, most recently winning the “Outstanding Preschool Series” Emmy for her work on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood in June. In addition to being an afamed television creator, Angela is an author. She has written numerous children’s books and two adult books, which are titled Preschool Clues (Simon and Schuster) and Radical Kindness (Harper Collins). Currently, Angela Santomero is working on two upcoming series and is overseeing the production and development of more than 20 shows.
Ella- What inspired you to enter the children’s entertainment industry?
Angela- I was always the preschooler who would sit so close to the TV, infatuated by it. I wanted to have the same impact on other kids. I originally wanted to be a teacher, however, I thought that I could positively impact even more kids through creating educational TV shows.
Ella- Where do you get ideas for your shows/creations? Who/What inspires you?
Angela- Fred Rodgers is someone who inspired me since my childhood. He is the main reason why I do what I do. The kindness that he brings is so powerful to the world. I was inspired by him to create Blue’s Clues and shortly after, we became friends. It’s been a career highlight to be his friend and then to promote his legacy with our hit show, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. I get all of my ideas from preschoolers, themselves. We do a lot of research involving kids and from that we know what they care about, what makes them laugh, and what they love!
Ella – What are the most important skills to be successful in the children’s entertainment industry? What educational and work experience would you recommend?
Angela – The most important skill to be successful would be to answer the questions “Why this show? Why now?”. There should be an important lesson or idea that we want to convey to children. The answer might be to educate, to promote children’s psychological well beings, to teach the importance of kindness in a world that sometimes lacks that trait, or even address social justice issues. For example Super Why, was actually my Masters’ Thesis as I wanted to encourage reading and language skills in young kids.
Ella – How is the rise of social media and mobile devices impacting your creations and the children’s entertainment industry as a whole?
Angela- It’s never been more fun to launch a show then with social media! Social Media has given us instant gratification. For example, when we release an episode, we can hear instantly if the fans like it or not; because of this, we know when we have a hit! Social media has also enabled us to be able to get inspiration from our fans. The idea to bring Steve back for the new Blue’s Clues was from social media. We also are able to hear what parents want to see. If there are specific issues that parents have seen their children need help managing, they can simply post on social media or DM us and we are able to see it and make episodes encapsulating what they need. For example, during these unfortunate times [the COVID -19 pandemic], parents reached out to us regarding Daniel Tiger, expressing their children’s need for an episode about death, and our team quickly took that feedback and developed a new episode. This could not have been possible in the 90s when my career began. The Blue’s Clues & You revival is also one of the best things that has happened with our social media! Because of all of the posts on social media advocating for a reboot, the network was encouraged to bring it back. The outpouring of love is one of my favorite things!
Ella – Do you think the children’s entertainment field is accommodating for women? Have you seen any changes over the years?
Angela – It’s a small industry, and since we are focused on kids, we are very family oriented. Having the support of other women to be flexible while having a career is one of the most important steps to success. Of course, being 25 when I created Blue’s Clues, my first show, there was a bit of a glass ceiling where some of my older colleagues were not happy about me getting my own show. But I focused on the work and the show being a hit spoke for itself!