Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Tommy Avallone On How He Got Names Like Bill Nye And Steve Burns To Offer Insight On I Love You, You Hate Me - Exclusive

The world of kids' entertainment is a beast that's quite difficult to navigate. Whether grown adults are taking part in Barney bashing or people are fabricating the death of "Blues Clues" host Steve Burns, it's difficult for entertainers to know what they're signing up for until they deal with some of the ramifications of stepping into these projects — some of which can ruin lives. One thing's for certain: These guys can undoubtedly use a support group with other entertainers who understand what's it like.

Director Tommy Avallone dove deep into the dark underbelly of children's entertainment with his documentary "I Love You, You Hate Me." Through the lens of the "Barney" phenomenon, the documentary puts a magnifying glass on why adults need to hate children's content — and take things way too far in their pursuit to preserve their own childhoods.

During an exclusive interview with Looper, Tommy Avallone discussed how he got big names like Bill Nye and OG "Blue's Clues" host Steve Burns to appear in the documentary and what names (and characters) he wasn't able to secure.

Top talent in kids' TV

On whether it took any convincing to get names like Al Roker, Bill Nye, and Steve Burns to appear, Tommy Avallone said, "Yeah. I don't want to say it was difficult, but it was just scheduling. Thankfully, it was friends of a friend, some of the people who have seen some of my other documentaries or someone on their team [had] seen some of my stuff, or I worked with them before. It was a lot of that boring [networking], and it all worked out."

There were a few characters and actors that Avallone tried to get that didn't work out, but the reasoning was always a technical snafu rather than a refusal. "We did try to get Tinky Winky in this. We interviewed him on Zoom, and he was great, but he was in Europe at the time, and it was going to be difficult to get him out," Avallone explained. He continued, "If you remember Stick Stickly, Stick Stickly was this interstitial thing on Nickelodeon. It was like a Popsicle stick with googly eyes." 

While Avallone and his team did score an interview with the character, copyright struck that plan down. "We interviewed Stick Stickly and the voice of Stick Stickly. I've never interviewed a stick before. It was fun to interview him in that," he noted. "We talked to him about serious stuff like where he come[s] from, and the stick answers, and it's so beautiful. But we interviewed a character that comes with a copyright, so we couldn't use it in there. Yeah, we tried to get a murderers' row of children's programming people." All of these names certainly give credibility and depth to the documentary. 

"I Love You, You Hate Me" is now streaming on Hulu.