(KTLA) – Say goodbye to the old Barney. Mattel, Inc. announced Monday that it is updating and relaunching its giant, purple, singing dinosaur franchise for the new generation.
“Mattel’s comprehensive revitalization of the Barney brand will span television, film, and YouTube content as well as music and a full range of kids’ products including toys, books, clothing, and more,” Mattel said in a news release. “Apparel and accessories for adult fans, featuring classic Barney, are also in development.”
The new Barney television series is scheduled to debut globally in 2024 and will introduce “new audiences to the world of Barney through music-filled adventures centered on love, community, and encouragement,” the release states.
“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.”
“Barney & Friends” premiered on PBS in 1992 and went on to become a massive hit. The “I Love You” theme song became widely known, to the ire of some.
A 2022 docuseries “I Love You, You Hate Me” recalled a backlash against the children’s program that led to the voice of Barney from 1992 to 2000, Bob West, receiving death threats. West, speaking to NBC News, said he thought most of the anger directed at him was from kids growing up.
“The people who sent me those threats were all kids in middle school,” West said. “They were doing the thing where they’re trying to throw off childhood and trying to be cool. I’m sure a lot of them were having emotional issues or maybe they were having trouble at home. There’s just no way to know. “
“Barney bashing” seeped into popular culture among adults too, with Saturday Night Live airing a segment during which Charles Barkley plays a violent game of 1-on-1 with the purple dinosaur, and David Letterman poking fun at a Texas news story describing three boys attacking a man in a Barney costume.
The show was eventually canceled in 2010.