Sesame Street and HBO Enter Five-year Partnership

Popular show will still air on PBS; will produce almost twice the episodes

Sesame Street and HBO strike 5 year deal
New seasons of Sesame Street will premiere on HBO in late fall of 2015, and air on PBS nine months later.. Sesame Workshop

It's the network that brought us Tony Soprano and Carrie Bradshaw. And now . . . Elmo?

In a stunning, surprising joint announcement, Sesame Street and HBO unveiled a unique partnership in which the next five seasons of the Emmy Award-winning Sesame Street will air on the popular cable network, as well as HBO GO, HBO On Demand and the new internet only SVOD service HBO NOW. After nine months, the episodes will be available for no charge on PBS.


“Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning public-private partnership model,” said Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop’s CEO in a statement released by Sesame Workshop. “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, Sesame Workshop will produce almost double the amount of episodes they currently create in a season, going from 18 to 35. 

“When we had an opportunity to put an iconic show like ‘Sesame Street’ on the network, we jumped on it,” said HBO chairman and chief executive Richard Plepler to The Wall Street Journal. 

Sesame Workshop will also develop two new educational series for young children featuring the Sesame Street Muppets, as well as a new, as yet undecided original educational series. 

“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 Plepler in the Sesame Workshop statement.

“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.”

The new episodes of Sesame Street will air in late fall 2015. HBO has the rights to air the series in both English and Spanish. As for older episodes, HBO has licensed over 150 episodes from the Sesame Street library which will stream on the network's streaming service. Currently Sesame Workshop has deals with Amazon and Netflix for Sesame Street that will expire later this year. Current episodes of the show will still air on PBS.

“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.”

Additionally, HBO has licensed 50 previously aired episodes of Pinky Dinky Doo, an animated series for preschoolers that helps with early reading skills and the reboot of ​The Electric Company, a popular show in the 1970s and 1980s that was revived by Sesame Workshop in 2009. 

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