Against the backdrop of a changing kids TV landscape, HBO and Sesame Workshop have together entered into a multi-year deal that will bring the next five seasons of the iconic Sesame Street TV series to the premium cable network and its multiplex channels.
The partnership enables Sesame to produce almost twice as much new content as previous seasons, and for the first time, make Sesame Street available for free to PBS and its member stations after a nine-month window.
Plus, 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 more than 150 library episodes of Sesame Street.
The new eps will begin airing as early as this fall, and HBO will be the exclusive, first-run subscription television distribution partner for Sesame Street and the new series. (HBO has the rights to air all series in both English and 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.
Sesame Workshop CEO Jeffrey Dunn said in a company statement that the deal represents a great merging of public and private funding models, wherein HBO will provide the show with critical funding that can then be applied to the programming and educational outreach of the 45-year-old nonprofit.