After 30 years, even the best roads could use a resurfacing. Throughout its long run, Sesame Street has constantly tinkered with its format, adding characters and expanding the neighborhood in order to stay relevant with children.
Sesame Street’s 30th season, which begins on November 16, brings the addition of Elmo’s World, a 12- to 14-minute segment that looks at the world through the eyes of a three-and-a-half-year-old. The segment will air during the last quarter-hour of the program and look at topics that encourage curiosity, inventiveness, creativity and learning. It will star Elmo, Mr. Noodle (actor Bill Irwin) and Elmo’s goldfish, Dorothy.
Sesame Street executive producer Michael Loman says that in recent years, the show’s demographic has skewed younger (one-and-a-half to three years old) and at the 40-minute mark, children this age tend to get restless. Elmo’s World, which will have a different look and set than Sesame Street, has been designed to keep their attention.
While research shows that Elmo is the best-loved character, internationally, Elmo as a street character doesn’t exist in some countries. This segment allows the creation of a spin-off show that can bring Elmo to more countries. Elmo’s World is self-drawn, by crayon, and uses a charming, deceptively simple-looking blend of live action and animation.
In addition to regular U.S. exposure for the little red guy, Sesame Street will concentrate more on the original neighborhood this season, adding more street segments and emphasizing core characters and puppets. ‘We’ve found that when we’ve gone away from that in the past, some of the littlest children began losing interest because we were away from the main story [too long],’ says Loman.
Sesame Street will also introduce more theme weeks, on topics like sharing and friendship, which will run in segments throughout the show.