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HomeEntertainment“The Backyardigans” Creator Janice Burgess Dies at 72

“The Backyardigans” Creator Janice Burgess Dies at 72

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“The Backyardigans” Creator Janice Burgess Dies at 72
Source: X/@CamerotaJolie

Janice Burgess, the creator of “The Backyardigans” and former Nickelodeon executive, is dead. The two-time Daytime Emmy winner passed away earlier this week at the age of 72. Representatives for Nickelodeon confirmed her passing in a statement to USA TODAY on Tuesday. 

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of one of the great architects of Nick Jr. and creator of the globally beloved series ‘The Backyardigans.’ Janice was one of the greats − inherently creative and kind, and dedicated to the preschool audience everywhere,” the statement read.

Nick Jr. creator Brown Johnson, who was a friend of Burgess, also told The New York Times she died of breast cancer. She lived a full life, creating legacy shows that will live on forever. “The Backyardigans” was a huge hit during the show, which ran from 2004 to 2013. 

After almost ten years, they closed the curtains on the show. However, it was still a hit among preschoolers even years after it ended. To date, the animated musical series has been a staple watch for children of different ages. 

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It follows five animal neighbors, Austin, Tasha, Tyrone, Pablo, and Uniqua, who find adventure daily. They reimagine their backyard as different landscapes, sing, and dance in a way that captivates their audience. According to Burgess, the show was partly inspired by her own childhood backyard adventures growing up in Pittsburgh.

“I really remember it as a wonderful, happy, safe place,” Burgess once told The New York Times. “You could have these great adventures just romping around. From there, you could go anywhere or do anything.”

Furthermore, some people do not know that she inspired Uniqua. “Uniqua is me. Or at least, who I was as a kid,” Burgess explained. “She’s a ringleader. Out of the five, Uniqua is the main character, and we use her in every story. I think most preschoolers have a sense of their own specialness, and that’s what Uniqua is about.”

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After the show ended in 2013, several parents still made their kids watch it on other platforms. Therefore, people will never forget the phenomenal show. In 2021, “The Backyardigans” also had a viral post-pandemic run on TikTok. 

Creators used a pair of songs from the programs for trends, further bringing it back to life. The 2000s kids and the internet as a whole relished in the trend with the songs “Into the Thick of It!” and “Castaways.” For those who didn’t know the show, they became aware of its existence for a long time. 

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To date, some TikTokers still use the sounds while creating content. Without a doubt, Burgess created a show that transcends time. For many more years to come, “The Backyardigans” would still be a go-to cartoon for parents and their kids. 

The entertainment industry has lost a gem, and her former colleagues have expressed their condolences on the internet. Fans have also sent well wishes and created several fan art pieces to celebrate her incredible life and talent. 

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