Barney reboot: Mattel gives its purple dinosaur an animated makeover

Mattel Inc. has announced a new line of Barney-themed toys, music, films, YouTube videos and an animated TV series to be launched next year.

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Barney the purple dinosaur modeled kindness in educational movies and a 1992-2010 PBS series, “Barney & Friends.”

Mattel Inc.

Barney is back with a whole new animated makeover.

Mattel Inc. on Monday announced its planned relaunch of the iconic purple dinosaur franchise. The toy company’s revitalization of the Barney brand will span TV, film and YouTube videos alongside music and toys, according to a release from Mattel.

“Barney’s message of love and kindness has stood the test of time,” said Josh Silverman, Mattel’s chief franchise officer and global head of consumer products. “We will tap into the nostalgia of the generations who grew up with Barney, now parents themselves, and introduce the iconic purple dinosaur to a new generation of kids and families around the world across content, products and experiences.”

The green-bellied purple dinosaur modeled kindness in educational movies and a 1992-2010 PBS series, “Barney & Friends,” aimed at kids. In it, a costumed actor taught young children life lessons, problem-solving skills and how to be their most “super-dee-duper” selves.

A new Barney series and product line

A new animated series is set for release next year, Mattel reported, followed by a Barney product line in 2025.

Created for preschool kids, the series will feature the ubiquitous purple dinosaur and friends, introducing new audiences to the world of Barney through music-filled adventures centered on love, community, and encouragement.

Barney’s Tyrannosaurus hex reportedly captured 2 million viewers at its peak in 1996-1997, but enraged part of the population that called for his extinction. Take the series’ polarizing “I Love You” tune. “Won’t you say you love me too?” Not everyone did.

Last year, the streaming service Peacock aired a two-part documentary ”I Love You, You Hate Me” directed by Tommy Avallone. It traces the origins of the friendly dinosaur and examines the Barney bashing that resulted, featuring interviews with the actors who voiced and donned the purple suit, the show’s crew, its former child stars — but not its most famous alumni, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato — and Steve Burns, the former host of Nickelodeon’s “Blue’s Clues.”

Contributing: Erin Jensen


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