‘Sesame Street’ Moving to HBO, Expanded Order and Spinoffs in Development
However ubiquitous and beloved Sesame Street has become over the years, there’s little secrecy surrounding the fact that PBS only provides so much of its funding, slowly shrinking Sesame Workshop’s production. Now, a whole new generation of Sesame Street will emerge with a move to HBO, allowing expanded production and spinoffs as early as this fall.
Via the New York Times, HBO has officially signed a first-run deal on all future Sesame Street episodes, upping its output from 18 to 35 new episodes each year. First airing episodes on HBO this fall, a nine-month window will preclude new Sesame Street from becoming available (free) on its 45-year PBS home, while the network will still air past episodes in its regular rotation, “edited in new ways.”
In addition to the move to HBO, Sesame Workshop will also develop a Sesame spinoff of sorts, as well as other educational children’s programming. Says Sesame head Jeffrey D. Dunn of the deal:
The partnership is really a great thing for kids. We’re getting revenues we otherwise would not have gotten, and with this we can do even more content for kids.
We were instantly thrilled for the opportunity to bring an iconic series like ‘Sesame Street’ to HBO. ‘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.
Notably, PBS only accounted for less than 10% of Sesame Street funding, the rest financed through DVDs and other licensing ventures. Two-thirds of children also watch Sesame Street on demand, rather than live on PBS, where the new deal will also pull any past Sesame episodes from Amazon or Netflix.
Will HBO’s Sesame Street acquisition prove a risky one, or a better option for parents and children overall?