Barney Birthday


It has been 25 years(next week) since Barney and Friends premiered on PBS stations across the country.

Some Laurel readers may not know that Barney got his big break when he was discovered by former CPTV executive Larry Rifkin, “through the eyes of his daughter.” Larry tells us this Wikipedia account is a fair and accurate representation of how the “anthropomorphic tyrannosaurus rex” became a kids’ television staple. The show was originally created by Sheryl Leach of Dallas, Texas then:

One day in 1991, the daughter of Connecticut Public Television executive Larry Rifkin rented one of the videos and was mesmerized by it. Rifkin thought the concept could potentially be developed for PBS. Rifkin thought Barney had appeal because he wasn’t nearly as neurotic as Big Bird. He pitched it to CPTV president Jerry Franklin, whose preschool son also fell in love with it. Franklin and Rifkin pitched the idea to all of their colleagues with preschoolers, and they all agreed that kids would love a potential Barney show. Franklin and Rifkin convinced Leach to let CPTV revamp the concept for television. The show debuted as Barney & Friends in 1992.

There are industry rumors that the series may make a comeback sometime this year.