“Sesame Street” now airs 26 episodes per season (one for each letter of the alphabet.) The Sesame Workshop says that in addition to the flagship children’s show, it plans to produce a spinoff series featuring the Muppets, as well as develop a new original educational series. The HBO deal will also allow Sesame Workshop to produce more content, including shows that aren’t Sesame Street.
There’s no telling how much influence Sesame Street’s new neighborhood will have on its format-it could end up running into Avenue Q territory to confront today’s problems. With PBS unable to make up the difference, Sesame Street had scaled back production, even as vintage clips racked up millions of views and the show maintained its place in the fabric of American childhood.
“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.
As part of the five-year deal, “Sesame Street” will be available on HBO, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and the new internet only SVOD service HBO NOW.
Sesame Workshop, the group behind the famous children’s television series, has been given the chance to significantly increase its “Sesame Street” production.
More than 4,300 episodes of “Sesame Street” have been produced since it premiered in November 1969 and introduced youngsters to letters, numbers and Muppet characters like Elmo, Big Bird and Cookie Monster. HBO will also license approximately fifty past episodes of Pinky Dinky Doo and The Electric Company. HBO plans to fund nearly twice as many new shows per season.
Nevertheless, the nine-month delay for free TV injects a “note of difference and separation into a show that was always dedicated to the eradication of such distinctions”, Rosenberg wrote. “We are delighted to be a home for this extraordinary show and helping (it) expand and build its franchise”.
For HBO, the partnership provides the network with prestigious and popular television programming for both its traditional television network and its new stand-alone streaming service, HBO Now, which is aimed at people who do not have or do not want cable TV subscriptions.
Children’s programming has emerged as a major battlefront in the streaming-video wars, with Los Gatos-based Netflix and Amazon fighting to win licensing rights for kids favorites such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and Pokemon.