'Sesame Street' is moving to HBO
Sesame Workshop, the folks behind Sesame Street, just struck a deal with HBO to stream the next five seasons of Sesame Street on the prestige network and its outlets starting this fall.
The way it works out is that after nine months of streaming exclusively on HBO, episodes of Sesame Street will be available for free on PBS (its home for the last 45 years). Sesame Street will also be on PBS concurrently this fall, with the season featuring a selection of episodes along with episodes from previous seasons edited in new ways. This partnering will allow Sesame Street to bump its production schedule to 35 new episodes a year, instead of the 18 it normally broadcasts. Sesame Workshop will addition create two new series: a spinoff based on the Sesame Streets muppets and a new educational series for children.
As part of the Sesame-HBO deal, HBO has also licensed 150 library episodes of Sesame Street and 50 episodes of Pinky Dinky Doo and The Electric Company. Sesame Street will no longer be available on Amazon and Netflix as a result of their HBO deal.
Pop culture junkies will note that isn’t the first time that Sesame Street and HBO have crossed paths, as the children’s television show has parodied popular HBO shows like Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, and Game of Thrones. However, the best Sesame-HBO crossover to date is “The Bert and Ernie Christmas Special” hosted by Tony “Paulie Walnuts” Sirico and Steve “Bobby Bacala” Schirripia from the Sopranos.
No word whether or not any of the muppets on 123 Sesame Street will undergo any radical changes to reflect their new neighborhood.
Facts about the Sesame-HBO Deal:
Less than 10 percent of funding for Sesame Street comes from PBS. Licensing revenue, such as DVD sales have done most of the financial heavy lifting for the show.
Two-thirds of children now watch Sesame Street on demand and do not tune into PBS to watch the show. As a result of this, Sesame’s licensing income has declined dramatically due to the rise of streaming services.
PBS was unable to make up the money that was lost, so Sesame Street was forced to cut down on both the number of episodes it produced and potential new material.
Cover: Sesame Street