Barney, the big purple dinosaur, is back

animated purple dinosaur
Mattel is relaunching the iconic Barney franchise for a new generation.

Barney, the “dinosaur from our imagination,” is bouncing back from extinction.

Mattel announced Monday its plans to relaunch Barney, the purple-and-green dinosaur that was a staple of millennial childhoods with whimsical songs about family and friendship on the popular television show “Barney & Friends.” Barney will star in a new animated series that will debut globally in 2024, along with a new slate of toys, clothing, books and other accessories.

“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,” Josh Silverman, chief franchise officer and global head of consumer products at Mattel, said in a statement.

But unlike the 6-foot-tall Tyrannosaurus rex character in costume with its toothy grin that millennials recognize from the live-action show, the new and improved Barney is an animation.


“With our modern take on Barney, we hope to inspire the next generation to listen, care, and dream big,” Fred Soulie, senior vice president and general manager of Mattel Television, said.

Created in the ‘80s by former teacher Sheryl Leach, “Barney & Friends” premiered on PBS in April 1992 for an audience of preschool and young children, teaching them lessons about inclusion, acceptance and using their imaginations. The show was often set on a playground or in a classroom and featured Barney’s cast of fuzzy friends including Baby Bop, a green Triceratops, and mostly child actors, including Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez.

Even after the half-hour show was over for the day, Barney was still everywhere to be found in children’s homes, depicted in stuffed animals, home videos, books, T-shirts, pillow cases — a product line whose sales totaled tens of millions of dollars in its first year alone.

Barney became a global phenomenon and landed the playful T. rex on the cover of People magazine’s most interesting people issue but eventually went off air in 2010.