As you have heard by now, Sesame Street has recently made a 5-year deal with HBO that will allow new episodes of Sesame Street to be produced and appear on HBO first before being released to PBS. There are many rumors and misunderstandings about what this all means, so let’s talk about the facts:
- New episodes of Sesame Street will appear on HBO only – a premium pay-cable channel.
- After 9 months, these new episodes will be released and shown on PBS – a free public broadcaster.
- PBS will still show reruns of previous episodes this fall.
- HBO will be streaming episodes of Sesame Street.
- Sesame Street will no longer appear on Amazon and Netflix.
- Episodes of Sesame Street will still be available on PBSKids.org and on the PBS Kids Video App which features 4 episodes each week and different episodes each week.
- More episodes of Sesame Street will be made each year under these terms. Currently, only 18 new episodes are produced each year. For the next 5 years, 35 new episodes will be made each year.
- A new series based on the Sesame Street muppets will be created.
What does this all mean? What about the children? Is Sesame Street leaving PBS? What will happen to my beloved Sesame Street?
This change has many implications. First and foremost, Sesame Street is NOT leaving PBS. Older episodes will continue without skipping a beat this fall. And the newer episodes that are being initially released on HBO will become available in 9 months – so we can anticipate the “birth” of the new episodes just like an older child waits for their baby brother or baby sister. Remember, patience is a virtue! Second, Sesame Workshop is not leaving behind the children it pledged to educate over 45 years ago. With this transition, more episodes will be able to be produced while still maintaining the integrity of the Sesame Workshop mission. And the old episodes, outreach materials, websites, and apps will still be available without cost. Third, our beloved Sesame Street will continue to shine. Without the struggle of trying to locate funding and fighting funding battles, Sesame Workshop can take on new projects, expand others, and continue to find ways to do what they do best – help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.
We do, however, need to be ever vigilant and mindful of new adventures. Keep informed of these changes. Tell others about your experiences. Let your voice be heard to Sesame Workshop, PBS,
HBO, and government officials that may be voting on PBS funding initiatives. Practice the lessons we learned from Sesame Street that learning is fun to keep educated about these changes. Tell others how to get to Sesame Street – both new episodes and old ones – and never give up on making the world a little smarter, a little stronger, and a little kinder.
For news and information about these changes, check out the following:
Press Release from Sesame Workshop and HBO
NPR Breaking News
And on the lighter side…