When I think about wholesome, kid-friendly, educational entertainment, I think: HBO. At least that’s what the premium network wants you to think if their recent deal with Sesame Workshop if any indication. The non-profit educational organization that’s responsible for the Emmy Award-winning and long-running kids series Sesame Street has now partnered up with HBO’s multi-channel platform for the next five seasons. (No word on if Fraggle Rock will be making a comeback.)
After the initial head-scratching reaction to this news, there’s actually quite a lot of goodness coming out of the deal. Not only will the series be made available free of charge to PBS for the first time ever (after a nine-month contractual window) now that HBO is footing the bill, but Sesame Workshop will be able to nearly double their produced content. Here’s what the company’s CEO Jeffrey D. Dunn had to say about the arrangement:
“Our new partnership with HBO represents a true 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; 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.”
Sesame Workshop will continue to produce Sesame Street for the next five seasons, along with plans for a Sesame Street Muppet spinoff series and a new original educational series for children. Fans can expect new episodes to begin airing as early as late fall 2015, but will have to tune into HBO since they have exclusive first-run rights for Sesame Street and the new series in both English and Spanish. PBS and its member stations will gain access to these shows after the first window, however episodes of Sesame Street will continue to be made available, uninterrupted, as part of the PBS KIDS service on PBS member stations.
As if the deal for HBO wasn’t already sweet enough, they’ve also licensed over 150 library episodes of Sesame Street. What’s more, HBO also has license opportunities for 50 past episodes of Pinky Dinky Doo, an animated series for preschoolers that focuses on early literacy, and The Electric Company, which was rebooted in 2009. Still no word on whether or not HBO will develop a Sesame Street: After Dark series to feature brutal puppet violence and gratuitous felt nudity, though I suppose they can always just develop an Avenue Q show.
What do you think about Sesame Street heading to HBO? Let us know in the comments!