In completely unexpected news, HBO has picked up the long running children's show Sesame Street. The same kids' show that teaches math, reading, and other valuable life skills will now air first on HBO starting this fall.
Earlier this week, PBS announced that they would would be airing Sesame Street in half-hour instalments, unlike the hour long episodes they have aired in the past. In addition, PBS will no longer be the first place to see new episodes of Sesame Street. HBO will air 35 new episodes, twice that of recent season averages, and has licensed over 150 old episodes. They have also licensed two series produced by Sesame Workshop - Pinky Dinky Doo, which focuses on early literacy, and a 2009 reboot of The Electric Company.
Some have voiced opposition to the acquisition, questioning whether such a show should air "behind a paywall". Unfortunately, it seems that the move was out of financial necessity. Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney released a statement explaining the decision to move to HBO, saying:
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.
The series has aired on PBS since 1969 and became a cultural staple, helping educate generations of children. For years PBS only funded about 10% of the production costs. Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit organization, provided the remaining funding out of licensing and DVD revenues. With DVD sales decreasing significantly, the existing licensing fees alone weren't enough to keep the show on PBS.
HBO's Chief Executive, Richard Plepler, said that the network was "delighted" to be the new home for "the most important preschool education program in the history of television". HBO has said that the content of Sesame Street would remain unchanged, but the internet had some hilarious crossover suggestions:https://twitter.com/moneyries/status/631856981649817600 https://twitter.com/TheRyanParker/status/631850036008062977
Sesame Street airing on HBO could open the door for a new career for Cookie Monster as a Last Week Tonight correspondent:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InSJBzZr414&h=500 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLi2xB82ZyI&feature=youtu.be&h=500