The Sesame Workshop and HBO announced today a new five-year partnership that will allow shows like Sesame Street to be available on HBO, as well as their mobile app HBO GO, HBO On Demand, and the brand-new HBO NOW. The biggest part of the deal is that now the Sesame Workshop can produce twice as much original programming as before, and make the show available free of charge to PBS and its member stations after a nine-month window.
"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."
According to the press release, in addition to the next five seasons of Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop will produce a Sesame Street Muppet spinoff series, as well as develop a new original educational series for children. HBO has also licensed over 150 library episodes of Sesame Street. These new episodes will begin airing as early as late fall 2015, and HBO will be the exclusive, first-run subscription television distribution partner for Sesame Street and the new series. HBO will have the right to air all series in English as well as Spanish. All new series will also be made available to PBS and its member stations after the first window. Episodes of Sesame Street will continue to be made available, uninterrupted, as part of the PBS KIDS service on PBS member stations.
"Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning public-private partnership model," said Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop's CEO. "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."
If you're a fan of the show, or have a young one who is and have been able to sit back and watch it with them, you'll notice that Sesame Street has aimed more sketches towards parents with parodies of HBO's critically-acclaimed (and very not kid-friendly) shows Game of Thrones, True Blood, and Boardwalk Empire.
Along with Sesame Street, HBO will also license approximately 50 past episodes of the two acclaimed children's series Pinky Dinky Doo, an animated series for preschoolers that focuses on early literacy, and The Electric Company, which was rebooted in 2009, from Sesame Workshop.