Sesame Street is on the move.
The iconic kids series is set to move to HBO after the premium cable network struck a deal with production company Sesame Workshop. Under the deal, HBO will get an “exclusive window” on new episodes for the next five seasons, before they are subsequently broadcast on PBS and member stations some nine months later.
HBO’s deal with Sesame Workshop is being hailed as a rare one that works for all parties. It will allow Sesame to produce almost twice as much new content as previous seasons and, for the first time ever, make the show available free of charge to PBS. New episodes of Sesame Street will begin airing as early as late fall 2015, while there will be no interruption to PBS Kids current roster of episodes.
“Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning public-private partnership model,” said Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop’s CEO. “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.”
Additionally, as part of this wide-ranging deal, HBO has ordered a Sesame Street Muppet spinoff, while Sesame Workshop will also develop new educational series for children to air on the cable network. As with the main series, these will be made available on PBS following HBO’s exclusive window. HBO has also acquired more than 150 library episodes of Sesame Street, as well as some 50 episodes of Pinky Dinky Doo and The Electric Company.
“We are absolutely thrilled to help secure the future of Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop’s mission for the nation’s kids and families,” said Richard Plepler, Chairman and CEO 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,” added 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.”