Screenwriter Janice Burgess Husband and Children

The world of children’s television owes much of its magic to the creative minds behind the scenes. One such luminary was Janice Burgess, a talented screenwriter, producer, and television executive. Her impact on beloved shows like The Backyardigans and the revived Winx Club is immeasurable. In this blog post, we explore her life, career, and the mysteries surrounding her personal life.

Early Life and Education

Born on March 1, 1952, in Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania, Janice Burgess grew up with a passion for storytelling. She attended The Ellis School and later pursued a bachelor’s degree in art history at Brandeis University. Little did she know that her artistic sensibilities would eventually shape the imaginations of millions of children worldwide.

From Art History to Television Magic

Burgess initially aspired to become an art historian. However, fate had other plans. She found herself volunteering at the public television station WQED, where she managed craft services.


This unexpected detour ignited her interest in television production. In the early 1990s, she held positions at the Children’s Television Workshop, working on shows like 3-2-1 Contact and Ghostwriter.

Her ability to bridge educational content with engaging storytelling caught the attention of Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon Journey: From Executive to Creative Force

In 1995, Burgess joined Nickelodeon as an executive-in-charge of production for Nick Jr. Her oversight included iconic shows like Blue’s Clues and Little Bill. However, her heart yearned for a more creative role. Brown Johnson, the senior vice president of Nick Jr., recognized her potential and encouraged her transition. Thus began Burgess’s journey into the world of animation.

The Birth of The Backyardigans and Its Animated Magic

Inspired by her earlier pilot called “Me and My Friends,” Burgess reimagined the concept. She transformed it into a fully computer-animated show, renamed it The Backyardigans, and produced a pilot in 2001.

The show featured a delightful cast of characters who embarked on imaginative adventures right in their own backyard. With music, dance, and vibrant storytelling, The Backyardigans became a beloved Nick Jr. series, captivating young audiences and parents alike.

Legacy and Personal Mysteries

While Burgess’s professional accomplishments are well-documented, her personal life remains shrouded in mystery. Was she married? Did she have children? These questions linger, unanswered. Perhaps Burgess preferred to keep her private life separate from her creative endeavors, allowing her work to speak for itself.


A Farewell to a Visionary

On March 2, 2024, Janice Burgess passed away in New York City due to breast cancer. Her legacy lives on through the laughter, imagination, and joy she brought to countless children. As we celebrate her contributions, we honor the woman who turned backyard play into animated magic.

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