H B O: ‘Sesame Street’ Lands New Home


Classic children’s television show Sesame Street has landed a new home at HBO.

The premium cabler signed a five-year deal with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization that produces the puppet-filled show, that will see the next five seasons of the show air on HBO and its streaming services, reports the New York Times.

“We were instantly thrilled for the opportunity to bring an iconic series like Sesame Street to HBO,” network CEO Richard Plepler said in a statement. “Sesame Street stands for excellence and quality in children’s programming, and we stand for excellence and quality in all programming. If we are going to lean into that and start to do more, we want to associate ourselves with a brand that is consummate to ourselves.”

The new deal will reportedly see the number of Sesame Street episodes ramped up to 35 per year from the current 18. Sesame Workshop will also create a new spinoff series based on the ‘Sesame Street Muppets,’ and will also create a new educational series for the pay network.

PBS, the publicly funded station that Sesame Street has called home since 1969, will still air episodes of the show, but will get them nine months after their first run on HBO. PBS will air abridged, half-hour episodes comprised of previous season’s material beginning this fall.

In a statement, Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney said the changing economics of children’s programming necessitated a deal to try to find new revenues.

“Over the past decade, both the way in which children are consuming video and the economics of the children’s television production business have changed dramatically,” Cooney said. “In order to fund our nonprofit mission with a sustainable business model, Sesame Workshop must recognize these changes and adapt to the times.”

“The partnership is really a great thing for kids,” Sesame Workshop CEO Jeffrey D. Dunn added to the Times. “We’re getting revenues we otherwise would not have gotten, and with this we can do even more content for kids.”

The deal means that episodes of the show currently on Netflix and Amazon will disappear from those services as HBO Now will become the only streaming service to carry them.

The acquisition bolsters HBO’s streaming service, which costs $10 per month, as millions of Americans cut the cord on traditional cable TV packages.

Children’s programming has proven to be immensely popular on streaming services; Netflix has reportedly spent the past two years developing at least a dozen original children’s television shows, as well as inking exclusive deals to acquire classic children’s shows like The Magic School Bus and Care Bears.