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Barney, Big Bird, and Gordon at the PBS Kids Sprout launch party


A worm dressed as Barney in Wormy Gras.

Barney & Friends is a children's television program on PBS about a large, purple dinosaur named Barney and the values he teaches children. The show was developed in 1988 (as a home video series called Barney & the Backyard Gang) and first aired in 1992. The series is now owned by HIT Entertainment and, along with Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, is one of PBS's longest running children's series.


  • Barney appeared in the "We Are Family" music video, alongside Big Bird and Bear, asserting their kinship as large puppets whose names begin with B.


  • Sesame Street Episode 3856 celebrates Wormy Gras, a holiday for worms to celebrate all things wormy. Slimey has trouble deciding on what costume to wear, so Gabi helps him try on a Tyrannosaurus Rex finger puppet. When another worm passes by wearing a Barney costume (and humming the show's closing song), it's frightened away by the more ferocious-looking dinosaur. The worm appears later in the episode as part of the Wormy Gras parade; Baby Bear asks who that is supposed to be while Oscar scratches his head and replies, "I have no idea."
  • During a 2009 appearance on The Tyra Show, Elmo says that his tux, seen in an event photo with Tyra Banks, was provided by Barney. Not the fashion designer, but the purple dinosaur. During a backstage interview at the Emmy Awards, Elmo tells a Soap Net reporter the opposite, that his tux is from the clothing store, not the dinosaur.[1]


  • According to Noel MacNeal, "Bear was designed to be the anti-Barney. He was designed to be a voice that a grown person could actually sit through, while still being a show for kids."[2]
  • In interviews, Caroll Spinney compares his earliest version of Big Bird to "a certain purple dinosaur who became popular later, I won't mention by name" and cites this as a reason why Big Bird's personality had to change.[3][4][5][6]


  • Bernadette Peters sang the opening number for Barney's Great Adventure.
  • Tomie dePaola appeared as himself on the show.
  • Victor DiNapoli has been the production designer for mutliple ​Barney and Friends​ home videos and designed sets for some of the live shows
  • Sandy Duncan played Michael and Amy's mom in the first three Barney and the Backyard Gang episodes.
  • Steve Feldman has directed several episodes on the show. 
  • Charles Edward Hall announced Barney to the stage in Barney Live! in New York City.
  • Selena Gomez appeared as cast member, Gianna, on the show.
  • Demi Lovato appeared as cast member, Angela, on the show.
  • Madison Pettis appeared as cast member, Bridget, on the show.
  • Kyla Pratt played Marcella in Barney's Great Adventure.


  1. In the Winners Circle with Sesame Street
  2. ToughPigs interview with Noel MacNeal
  3. The Wisdom of Big Bird
  4. A&E Biography: Sesame Street
  5. NPR "A Life Inside Big Bird" May 5, 2003
  6. Boston.com "Featherhood" by James Sullivan, January 21, 2007
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