NEW YORK, Aug. 13 (UPI) — Sesame Workshop and HBO have announced a new partnership that will mean the next five seasons of Sesame Street will air first on the pay-cable TV network and its platforms.
The preschool audience-aimed show will then, for the first time ever, be made available free of charge to its longtime home PBS and its member stations after a nine-month window.
“Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning, public-private partnership model,” Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop’s chief executive officer, said in a statement Thursday. “It provides Sesame Workshop with the critical funding it needs to be able to continue production of Sesame Street and secure its nonprofit mission of helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder; it gives HBO exclusive pay-cable and SVOD access to the nation’s most important and historic educational programming; and it allows Sesame Street to continue to air on PBS and reach all children, as it has for the past 45 years.”
In addition to the next five seasons of Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop will produce a Sesame Street Muppet spinoff series, as well as develop a new original educational series for children.
HBO has also licensed more than 150 library episodes of Sesame Street. The new episodes will begin airing as early as late this fall. Old episodes of Sesame Street will continue to be made available, uninterrupted, as part of the PBS KIDS service on PBS member stations.
“We are absolutely thrilled to help secure the future of Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop’s mission for the nation’s kids and families,” added Richard Plepler, chairman and chief executive officer of HBO, and Michael Lombardo, president of HBO programming. “Home Box Office is committed to bringing the most groundbreaking and creative shows to its audience. 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, helping Sesame Street expand and build its franchise.”
“I’ve long admired the creative work of HBO and can’t think of a better partner to continue the quality of Sesame Street‘s programming,” commented Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder of Sesame Street. “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 nonprofit mission with a sustainable business model, Sesame Workshop must recognize these changes and adapt to the times.”
“PBS and member stations are proud of our outstanding, curriculum-based PBS KIDS content and the demonstrated impact it has in helping prepare children for success in school and in life,” PBS said in a statement.
“Sesame Workshop’s new partnership does not change the fundamental role PBS and stations play in the lives of families. Sesame Street will continue to air on PBS stations as part of the PBS KIDS service, building on a 45-year history.”