Sesame Street Heads to HBO in Fall

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Friends of Sesame Street, say hello to your new neighbors Carcosa and Tyrion.

The non-profit producer of public television’s “Sesame Street” and HBO announced a unique partnership in which the premium subscription network will air the next five seasons of the Emmy-winning Muppet education series. New episodes of “Sesame Street” could begin airing and streaming on HBO’s TV and Internet platforms as early as this fall.

Don’t worry however, “Sesame Street” will continue to be available to PBS and its member stations. The PBS stations will be able to air the show, now free of charge, HBO says, nine months after HBO airs them.

According to the Washington Post, “The deal is a boon to the non-profit Sesame Workshop (which until 2000 was known as the Children’s Television Workshop); with HBO’s financial backing, Sesame Workshop said it can produce almost twice as many episodes as it has in previous seasons, according to a joint statement from executives at both companies.”

Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop CEO said of the deal, ”[It] represents a true, winning public-private partnership model. It provides Sesame Workshop with the critical funding it needs to continue production of ‘Sesame Street’ and secure its non-profit mission of helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder.”

It sounds like HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler and HBO programming president Michael Lombardo are pleased about the agreement, and that the network is, ”[A]bsolutely thrilled to help secure the future of ‘Sesame Street’ and Sesame Workshop’s mission. … ‘Sesame Street’ is the most important preschool education program in the history of television. We are delighted to be a home for this extraordinary show and helping [it] expand and build its franchise.”

In short, this means that HBO has noticed how its rising competitors such as Netflix and Amazon are rapidly adding children’s programming into their equations, thus widening their field of vision. And in their seemingly HBO-kind-of way, they’ve gone for the most respected children’s program of all time. Not only will “Sesame Street” be available via on-demand HBO, but it will also be available on HBO Now, which allows customers to get HBO without having to pay for cable or satellite services.

“I’ve long admired the creative work of HBO and can’t think of a better partner to continue the quality of ‘Sesame Street,” one of the show’s original co-founders, Joan Ganz Cooney, said in a statement provided by HBO. “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. In order to fund our non-profit mission with a sustainable business model, Sesame Workshop must recognize these changes and adapt to the times.”

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