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Emmy gives Barry's 'Wacky World' new life
OLDSMAR - Only in the wacky world of animator-designer Bruce Barry can a TV show win a regional Emmy despite never making it past four episodes. "That's show biz," Barry says with a laugh. "But we're not giving up. We shot 13 episodes altogether and we know there's a home for it somewhere out there." On Saturday in Atlanta, freelance producer Mark Allen picked up the Emmy for outstanding achievement for Arts and Entertainment-Program Feature for the series "The Wacky World of Bruce Barry." The award was presented by the Southeast Regional chapter of the National Society of Television Arts and Sciences. The show, filmed over a year's time, was supposed to run for 13 weeks. But the network that picked it up, FamilyNet, was sold in December to AmericanLife Network, which airs classic television series and inspirational programs. Barry's series only made it to four one-hour installments.The reality program focused on Barry and his staff taking projects from concept to completion. His design studio, based in a nearly 20,000-square-foot warehouse in Oldsmar, specializes in creating color and cartoon-like "themed environments" for museums, pediatric health care facilities, restaurants, casinos, retailers and churches. It also designs stage sets and amusement park rides. The series debuted Nov. 1 on the entertainment network, which was available to Verizon FiOS subscribers. But after the network was sold, future episodes of "Wacky World" were put on hold. The four segments that had aired continued showing for a couple of months, but eventually stopped. The shows can now be seen on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=07F-gkeOyMA. Winning the regional Emmy gives new life to the series, Barry says. He and Allen plan to re-edit all 13 episodes and shop it around to other networks that specialize in "good home entertainment," such as HGTV, TLC and the Oprah Winfrey Network. "Right now, we're riding this wave," he says. "We got a fantastic response to what did make it on the air, and a lot of reaction when it stopped. So I know people liked it." Now that he's been bitten by the television bug, Barry is working on a new reality show: "You Call That Art?" With the public always divided on what constitutes good art, he wants to put projects on display and have audiences vote on them, much like the "American Idol" concept. He and Allen are shooting the first pilot segment in Sedona, Ariz. In the meantime, the downturn in the economy hasn't seemed to affect his studio business. Barry is working on 22 projects across the country. One of his latest designs - a 20-foot hard-coated foam replica of Dale Earnhardt Jr. - is now making the rounds of the NASCAR circuit, promoting the racer's partnership with Wow! Foods, which specializes in vending-machine snacks and microwaveable meals. Why is Barry so smitten with reality television? "Because I don't have to act," he says. "I can just be myself and let things happen without a script. How much fun is that?" TUNE IN TONIGHT "Deadliest Catch," 9 p.m., Discovery Andy trains a deckhand to be a relief skipper on the Time Bandit as a critically ill Capt. Phil Harris is flown to Anchorage for medical care.
Reporter Michelle Bearden can be reached at (813) 259-7613.