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Sesame Street's New ABCs: On PBS And Now HBO

These familiar faces will soon be appearing on another channel.
Kathy Willens

Known for adult dramas and gory thrillers, HBO is home to some of the most colorful characters on television, but this fall another brightly colored crew is joining the network.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind the beloved children's show, announced a new deal with HBO Thursday that will bring the next five seasons of Sesame Street to the premium cable channel and its streaming services.

But Sesame Street isn't vacating its old neighborhood, NPR's Neda Ulaby reports. She tells our Newscast unit that:

"Re-edited old episodes will still be on PBS, where it has lived for 45 years. But new episodes will be on HBO first, exclusively for nine months before they're made available to PBS for free. PBS says its stations reach more kids aged 2-5, more moms of kids under 6 and more low-income kids than any other children's network. But Sesame Street never made that much money from public television — most of its revenue comes from licensing toys and DVDs. And today, most kids watch Sesame Street on demand, not on PBS. HBO plans to fund almost twice as many new shows per season."

"Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning public-private partnership model," Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop's CEO, said in a joint statement.

The iconic program has been under a financial burden in recent years that forced it to cut back on the number of episodes it could produce. And HBO has been working to keep up with other streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix that already offer plenty of children's shows.

The New York Times reports that:

"The partnership will allow Sesame Workshop to significantly increase its production of 'Sesame Street' episodes and other new programming. The group will produce 35 new 'Sesame Street' episodes a year, up from the 18 it produces now. Sesame Workshop also will create a spinoff series based on the 'Sesame Street' Muppets and another new educational series for children."

Financial details of the deal weren't released, but Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney said in the statement that she "couldn't think of a better partner" for the show.

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