When a new TV series premiered this weekend, a Kansas City metro man’s voice will be guiding viewers through it.
Veteran voice actor Andy Barnett of Gardner narrates “Rich and Acquitted.” It debuted on the Reelz cable television network on Sept. 10. Each episode examines the case of a high-profile celebrity whose wealth and prestige enabled them to escape legal situations that would have destroyed other defendants. Cases involving Michael Jackson, O.J. Simpson, Snoop Dogg and Oscar Pistorius will be spotlighted.
“Narrating this series was an eye-opener,” Barnett said. “I saw, just as viewers will also see, that even when the facts were stacked against these celebrities, they still managed to get off the hook.”
This is the first time the Kansas City native has narrated a television series. It’s the most recent twist in a remarkable career that began by imitating a famous voice as a child. “I watched a lot of old Looney Tunes cartoons on TV when I was a kid,” he explained. “When Mel Blanc did Bugs Bunny, I did Bugs Bunny, too.”
Barnett’s interest in reaching people via the spoken word began when the acting bug bit during middle school in Overland Park. A radio class he took in college to improve his acting skills produced an interest in that medium. An internship with the KCFX Morning Show followed, where Barnett learned how to do comedy voices from hosts Rick Tamblyn and TJ Price.
“It just grew from there,” Barnett adds.
After graduating from Missouri State University, he returned to his hometown and continued honing his skills on-air and in acting. He credits two years spent training with the KC Improv Company as helping him grow as an actor.
An invitation to study with local voice artist Matt Wiewel turned his career in that direction, and Barnett has been working in it ever since. His voice is heard around the nation in TV and radio commercials for an array of big name clients ranging from Toyota and Toys-R-Us to Valvoline Oil and Red Baron Frozen Pizza.
He stays so busy, in fact, he built his own state of the art recording studio in the basement of his Gardner home, where he lives with his wife, Jessica, and their three young sons.
“That’s where I recorded the narration for this new series,” Barnett points out. Given the success he’s already achieved in being heard countless times daily around the world, chances are it won’t be Andy Barnett’s last series, either.