Pioneering Creator Janice Burgess Behind "The Backyardigans"

Pioneering Creator Janice Burgess Behind “The Backyardigans” Passes Away at 72

The world of children’s television mourns the loss of Janice Burgess, the visionary force behind the beloved Nick Jr. series, The Backyardigans. Burgess, a cornerstone of imaginative storytelling, passed away on March 4, 2024, at the age of 72.

A Legacy Built by Janice Burgess

Burgess joined Nickelodeon in 1995 and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming an executive in charge of production. However, her true passion resided in crafting captivating content for young viewers. In 2004, Burgess’s vision materialized with the premiere of The Backyardigans.

The show’s premise was delightfully simple yet endlessly captivating. Five neighborhood friends – Pablo the penguin, Tyrone the tiger, Tasha the hippo, Uniqua the unicorn, and Austin the kangaroo –  transformed their backyard into fantastical landscapes under the creative direction of Janice Burgess. Each episode whisked them away on musical adventures, becoming pirates, astronauts, secret agents, and more, all fueled by Burgess’s imagination.

The Backyardigans’ Enduring Success: A Testament to Janice Burgess

The success of The Backyardigans stemmed from its unique blend of storytelling, masterfully crafted by Burgess. The show resonated with children through its engaging narratives, while the catchy musical numbers, spanning genres from hip-hop to opera, kept them glued to the screen. The show’s educational value was woven seamlessly through its emphasis on teamwork, problem-solving, and the power of imagination, all championed by Janice Burgess.

More Than Just The Backyardigans: The Legacy of Janice Burgess

While The Backyardigans remains Janice Burgess’s most recognizable creation, her contributions to children’s television extended far beyond. Burgess played a pivotal role in the revival of Winx Club, a popular animated series aimed at a slightly older demographic. Her keen eye for talent, coupled with her innovative storytelling, helped shape countless other shows throughout her illustrious career.

Tributes Pour In for Janice Burgess

The animation community paid its respects to Burgess, with many colleagues highlighting her significant impact. Fellow animation writer, Fracaswell Hyman, shared a heartfelt tribute: “Janice Burgess created The Backyardigans and guided countless other shows .Her wit, creativity, and dedication to children’s entertainment will be deeply missed.”

Fans also took to social media to express their condolences, sharing cherished memories of how The Backyardigans, created by Burgess, impacted their childhood. The show’s enduring popularity is a powerful testament to Janice Burgess’s ability to connect with young audiences and spark their imaginations.

 A Champion for Creativity and Education in Children’s Television

Janice Burgess
Janice Burgess

Janice Burgess’s influence on children’s television goes beyond creating a single hit show. Throughout her career, she championed the power of creativity and education in shaping young minds. The Backyardigans perfectly embodies this philosophy, using imaginative storytelling and catchy music to entertain while subtly teaching valuable lessons about teamwork, problem-solving, and the importance of using your imagination. Her work at Nickelodeon, including her contributions to shows like Winx Club, further showcases her dedication to crafting content that is both engaging and enriching for young viewers. Burgess’s legacy lies not just in the shows she created, but in the way she inspired a generation of creators to prioritize both entertainment and education in their work.

A Creative Force Who Leaves a Lasting Legacy

Burgess’s legacy extends beyond the catchy tunes and vibrant characters of The Backyardigans.  She was a true pioneer in children’s television, a champion for creative storytelling, and an inspiration to aspiring creators. Burgess’s work continues to entertain and educate young viewers, sparking a lifelong love of music and imagination in generations of children.


Janice Burgess, the creator of the beloved children’s show The Backyardigans, passed away on March 4, 2024, at 72. The Backyardigans, known for its imaginative storylines and catchy musical numbers created by Burgess, remains a staple in children’s entertainment.  Burgess’s career spanned over two decades, leaving a lasting impact on the world of children’s television.


Who created The Backyardigans?

Janice Burgess created the children’s television series The Backyardigans.

When did The Backyardigans premiere?

The Backyardigans premiered on Nickelodeon in October 2004.

What was  Burgess’s role at Nickelodeon?

In 1995, Janice Burgess embarked on her journey at Nickelodeon, taking the reins as an executive in charge of production. She also played a role in the revival of Winx Club.

What is the legacy of Janice Burgess?

Janice is remembered for her creativity, wit, and ability to connect with young audiences through engaging storytelling and music.

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