why did barney end
Source: Getty

Here's the Real (and Dark) Reason 'Barney & Friends' Was Canceled

Leila Kozma - Author

Oct. 18 2019, Updated 2:43 p.m. ET

"Barney is a dinosaur from our imagination, and when's tall he's what we call a dinosaur sensation," ran the theme song of the popular children's television show. 

Exploring the crucial themes of friendship, family, and personal well-being, and heftier topics like overcoming envy or maintaining a healthy lifestyle, the show was the first to offer light-hearted edutainment.  

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Despite the positive reviews, Barney & Friends was canceled in 2009. 

So, why did Barney end? 

barney still on tv
Source: PBS
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Barney was originally the product of author and tv show creator, Sheryl Leach, who wanted to create a program specifically targeting older kids. The mother-of-one came up with the idea of the hot pink, rotund T-rex whilst driving around her hometown in Texas, and soon enough, the first tapes were made. 

However, Barney didn't launch on television until 1992 — the year until  Larry Rifkin, an executive of the Connecticut Public Television decided to broadcast the program. 

So, what happened to Barney?

According to a fan page titled Barney Lawsuits, the creators of the show launched court proceedings on at least six occasions. Most of these concern copyright infringement issues. However, some of these are more, well, juicier. 

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In 1997, The San Diego Chicken ran comedy sketches that saw Barney being ruthlessly beaten up – which the producers saw unfit with the original message of the show. In 2001, a comedy website posted a guide to killing the dinosaur, titled 150 Ways to Kill the Dinosaur. This warranted legal action on behalf of the producers as well. 

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Unfortunately, the live comedy sketches and the book are far from the only artistic endeavors subjecting Barney to extreme violence. From the Barney blown up YouTube niche to Dustyfeet.com, a web-based cult promoting the notion that Barney must be ended by all means, there's no shortage of content attacking the hot pink T-Rex. 

In fact, the pieces of content fantasizing about how Barney could be obliterated are seemingly more popular than the original children's show itself. 

Barney is not on TV — but there is a movie in the works!

The numerous lawsuits, the rise of public scorn, or the rapidly-changing conventions shaping children's television shows in the era of post-digitalization could explain why Barney was canceled in 2009. However, that's not all there is to the story. 

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In January 2018, the Business Insider published an interview with the actor to play Barney, David Joyner, titled '"The actor who played Barney is now a tantric sex specialist who charges $350 a session and advises against condoms — and he only accepts female clients."

The actor spoke out on numerous occasions about his appreciation of Tantra — the sex cult that counts Sting as a member, in case you're looking for a quick memory refresher — detailing how it inspired his portrayal of Barney. 

barney movie
Source: PBS

PBS did not release an official statement detailing why Barney was canceled. Any and all of the above factors could have played a role in the ending of the show. 

But fans can look forward to a movie about the purple dinosaur. Mattel Films announced it would be working with Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya on a live-action movie — and we already have the theme song stuck in our head. 

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