Barney was a popular character with the preschool set in the 1990s and 2000s. [Source: CNN News]
Barney is back, and while Mattel has not yet officially confirmed it, we’re guessing he still loves you.
Toy giant Mattel (MAT) announced Monday that Barney, the friendly (and, let’s be honest, cringe-worthy to a large group of Millennials who watched him as pre-schoolers, and to their parents) purple dinosaur is making a triumphant return to TVs and toy shelves next year. Thanks to the switch from live-action to animation, he’s now also got great big eyes.
The “Barney & Friends” show, featuring the titular violet-hued T-Rex, aired on PBS in the United States from 1992 until 2010. Mattel said Monday that the new show, unlike the original, will be animated. So no beleaguered actor dressed up in a dinosaur costume marching around and singing to young kids.
A spokesperson for Mattel told CNN that it has no specific news to announce yet about whether the relaunched Barney will be on PBS, but added that the company has “confirmed streaming and broadcast partners that we’ll be announcing later in the year.” PBS was not immediately available for comment.
Mattel did say that the new franchise will include TV, film and Alphabet (GOOGL)-owned YouTube content as well as music and a vast array of merchandising, including toys (of course), clothing and books. The company’s Mattel Studios unit is working with Nelvana, a studio owned by Canadian media company Corus Entertainment (CJREF), to co-produce the new series.
“In creating the new series, it was important to us that we properly reflect the world that kids today live in so that the series can deliver meaningful lessons about navigating it,” said Fred Soulie, general manager of Mattel Television, in the news release.
“With our modern take on Barney, we hope to inspire the next generation to listen, care, and dream big,” Soulie added.
Mattel’s television unit, which has also recently brought back its Monster High and Masters of the Universe franchises, is hoping to cash in once again on young and middle-aged adults yearning for the days of their childhood.
So for anyone who grew up on the original Barney show and actually would admit to enjoying him and friends like BJ the yellow protoceratops and Baby Bop the green triceratops, Mattel is hoping they’ll want to buy old school Barney toys and swag.
The company said in its news release that “apparel and accessories for adult fans, featuring classic Barney, are also in development.”
“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,” said Josh Silverman, chief franchise officer and global head of consumer products at Mattel, in the release.
Mattel could use some more big hit toys. The company announced disappointing earnings and sales for the holidays, as well as a sluggish outlook last week and its stock, plunged more than 10% on the news. Rival Hasbro (HAS) has also been hurt by weak demand for toys.