Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'Sesame Street' Moving from PBS to Hbo

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'Sesame Street' Moving from PBS to Hbo

Article excerpt

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Pretty soon Big Bird will be feathering a new nest: Original episodes of "Sesame Street" are moving from PBS to HBO late this fall.

Under a new five-year deal, the next five seasons of "Sesame Street" will premiere on HBO and its assorted platforms, including streaming video on demand where children's programming is increasingly popular from services such as Netflix and Amazon.

Nine months after airing on HBO, "Sesame Street" episodes will be made available free of charge to PBS and its member stations. The New York Times reports less than 10 percent of "Sesame Street" funding came from PBS, the rest came from licensing.

"Sesame Street" is produced independently of PBS by Sesame Workshop (formerly the Children's Television Workshop), which has had financial troubles in recent years, accounting for the company's desire to partner with HBO, which can offer more resources than PBS.

HBO says "Sesame Street" will be able to produce more content than in previous seasons, 35 new episodes annually on HBO compared with 18 on PBS, according to The New York Times.

New "Sesame Street" episodes will be 30 minutes rather than the show's traditional 60-minute running time since its 1969 launch. PBS started airing a half-hour version of the show in 2014 in addition to the 60-minute version. A 30-minute-only format for "Sesame Street" will kick in Nov. 16 on PBS.

Sesame Workshop CEO Jeffrey D. Dunn called the new HBO deal a "winning public-private partnership model."

"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," he said in a statement. "It gives HBO exclusive pay cable and [streaming video on demand] 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."

An HBO spinoff series, "Sesame Street Muppet," also is in the works along with a second, original educational series for children. …

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