Sesame Street is a staple of children's TV — all TV, really — and has been since it debuted in 1969. For 45 years it has called PBS its home, but now it's changing course after inking a five-year deal with HBO that's the first of its kind. Under the terms of the contract, all new episodes will air on HBO and its various channels first and nine months later appear on PBS.
So why the change after all this time?
As streaming services continue to shake up how we consume TV, the way kids watch Sesame Street has dramatically changed. Joan Ganz Cooney, who conceived the show in 1966, simply stated that "in order to fund our nonprofit mission with a sustainable business model, Sesame Workshop must recognize these changes and adapt to the times."
Partnering with HBO gives the show the financial security its creators need to do their best work and also provides plenty of flexibility in their approach now that they're creating for paid cable.
What's in it for HBO?
HBO apparently wants to get into children's TV and scoring a deal with Sesame Street is a pretty good place to start. The network plans to produce "twice as much new content" as part of the deal and the nine-month window before that content is available for free on PBS represents a significant advantage with arguably the most influential children's show of all time.
The good news and the bad news.
The good news is more Sesame Street. The bad news is paying extra to see it right away. There's not much more to it than that from a consumer perspective. With the trend of TV moving into paid subscriptions to channels, and "channels" like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video, though, this scenario probably would have happened down the road regardless. The fact that Sesame Street is free from financial worry far outweighs the negatives.
The best part about the news is that member station WNET in New York got a little jab in at HBO on the heels of its poorly received second season of True Detective:
Can't argue with that.
Cover image: Wikimedia