Barney & Friends is an independent children's television show produced in the United States, aimed at very young children ages 1–8. The series, which first aired in 1992, features the title character Barney, a purple anthropomorphic Tyrannosaurus rex who conveys learning through songs and small dance routines with a friendly, optimistic attitude.
Barney was created in 1987 by Sheryl Leach of Dallas, Texas. She came up with the idea for the program while considering TV shows that she felt would be educational and appeal to her son. Leach then brought together a team who created a series of home videos, Barney and the Backyard Gang, which also starred actress Sandy Duncan in the first 3 videos. Later, Barney was joined by the characters Baby Bop, BJ, and Riff.
Although the original videos were only a modest success outside of Texas, Barney became a major success only when the character and format were revamped for the television series and were picked up by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), debuting as Barney & Friends in 1992. The series was produced by Lyrick Studios (bought by HIT Entertainment) and Connecticut Public Television. For several years, the show was taped at the ColorDynamics Studios facility at Greenville Avenue & Bethany Drive in Allen, after which it moved to The Studios at Las Colinas in Dallas, Texas. Currently, the series is produced in Carrollton, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The TV series and videos are currently distributed by HiT Entertainment and Lionsgate, while the TV series has been produced by WNET since 2006. Sheryl Leach left the show in 2002 after HIT Entertainment bought Lyrick Studios.
Although the show has been criticized for its lack of educational value, Yale researchers Dorothy and Jerome Singer have concluded that episodes contain a great deal of age-appropriate educational material, calling the program a "model of what preschool television should be."
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Official Site: HIT Entertainment
Links: Wikipedia IMDb PBS's Barney Site