Following the historic Sesame Workshop-HBO five-year pact that made headlines this past summer, iconic children’s TV series Sesame Street will officially return for its 46th season starting January 16 on HBO, but changes are afoot.
Sesame Street will launch in January featuring shorter episodes, a new character, a Cookie Monster segment, a new set and updated opening/closing songs. And for the first time, the show opener takes place in the Sesame Street neighborhood.
Episodes will now be 30 minutes instead of the longstanding one-hour format, which Sesame says it has implemented in order to help kids focus their attention and engage with each story. Episodes will air every Saturday at 9:00 a.m. on HBO, followed by a repeat episode at 9:30 a.m. New eps dubbed into Spanish will also simultaneously debut on HBO Latino.
In keeping with the show’s history of celebrating diversity, Sesame Street is adding a new cast member. Nina (Suki Lopez) is a young, bilingual Hispanic woman who works at the laundromat and bike store. Nina uses her wit, compassion and charisma to come up with creative solutions to help Sesame Street residents solve daily problems.
Another new addition to the show, the all-new Smart Cookies segment, will see the iconic Cookie Monster and a team of crime-fighting cookie friends attempt to thwart the efforts of villain The Crumb, who has many tricks up his sleeve.
Other key updates to the 46th version of the popular kids show includes new preschool themes, where each segment is tied to the overall theme of the day.
And last but not least, Sesame Street has a new set. Elmo has moved into 123 Sesame Street brownstone, Cookie Monster now lives above Hooper’s store, Abby has a new garden full of bright and dazzling flowers and plants, Big Bird lives in a tree, and Oscar’s can has been updated and moved to a more central location. He’ll also be popping up from garbage cans, recycling bins and composting receptacles across the street.
Sesame Street fans can watch new and past seasons of the series daily on HBO Family at 8:00 a.m., as well as five years of previous season are available to stream on HBO NOW and HBO GO. Episodes will also be availble on HBO On Demand and affiliate portals.
As per the landmark deal, Sesame Street is still available on PBS KIDS on weekdays and Sundays on local stations and via PBS KIDS Video app. And season 46 will begin airing on the pubcaster in fall 2016.