The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has certainly taken a toll on people as stay-at-home orders and other efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 has seen comforting daily routines completely altered while the uncertainty of the situation has left everyone feeling a little anxious. That's especially true for children who are also facing a whole new and unfamiliar reality and now, Sesame Street's beloved furry red monster Elmo is here to help with a new half-hour special.
On April 14 at 7 p.m. ET/PT, Sesame Street: Elmo's Playdate will air across all WarnerMedia Networks, including HBO, HBO Latino, TBS, TNT, truTV, Boomerang, and Cartoon Network as well as PBS Kids. Part of Sesame Workshop's Caring for Each Other initiative will feature all-star guests Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anne Hathaway and Tracee Ellis Ross, the special is presented as a "virtual playdate" letting Elmo and his friends Grover, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby and more connect via video conference, finding new ways to play together while stuck at home. The special will also celebrate heroes of the pandemic, including EMTs and other healthcare workers.
"WarnerMedia recognizes how difficult these isolation efforts are for families, especially ones with children," Bob Greenblatt, Chairman, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer said. "With Sesame Street: Elmo's Playdate airing simultaneously across our networks, we are confident that this special will bring family members together for a unique in-home viewing experience that will provide laughter, joy and relief during this challenging time."
Some of the joy the special will bring viewers includes Ross playing a game of "Elmo Says," Miranda singing along for "Old McDonald Had a Farm," and Hathaway joining Elmo for "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes."
While the simultaneous broadcast across multiple networks is a bit of a departure, this isn't the first time Sesame Street has been used as a tool to help children cope during difficult times. Back in 2001, Sesame Street aired an episode that, while it didn't directly depict the events of 9/11, offered a way to help kids understand and cope with the changes in their world through the lens of a fire in Hooper's Store.
"It was a devastating time for all of us," the show's senior vice president of education and curriculum Rosemarie Truglio told Mental Floss last fall. "We felt we needed to do something in response to 9/11, but we knew we had to be very careful, because our viewers are so young, and parents are returning to educational programming as a safe haven for kids."
Sesame Street: Elmo's Playdate will air Tuesday, April 14 at 7 p.m. ET/PT on HBO, HBO Latino, TBS, TNT, truTV, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, and PBS Kids. It will also be available on HBO Now, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and will be available on HBO Max at launch.