Sesame Workshop has reached a deal with HBO that will bring the next five seasons of "Sesame Street" to the cable network's multiple channels, HBO Go, HBO On Demand and HBO Now.
According to a press release, this will allow Sesame Workshop to produce almost twice as much new content as previous seasons (35 episodes a year, up from the current 18), and for the first time ever, make the show available free of charge to PBS and its member stations after a nine-month window.
"Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning public-private partnership model," Jeffrey D. Dunn, CEO of Sesame Workshop, said in a statement. "It provides Sesame Workshop with the critical funding it needs to be able to continue production of 'Sesame Street' and secure its nonprofit mission of helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder; it gives HBO exclusive pay cable and SVOD access to the nation's most important and historic educational programming; and it allows Sesame Street to continue to air on PBS and reach all children, as it has for the past 45 years."
In addition to new seasons of "Sesame Street," Sesame Workshop is getting behind a Muppet spinoff series and develop new educational shows for children. New episodes will begin airing in fall 2015 in both English and Spanish before heading to PBS.
"We are absolutely thrilled to help secure the future of 'Sesame Street' and Sesame Workshop's mission for the nation's kids and families," Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO of HBO, and Michael Lombardo, president of programming at HBO, said in a statement. "Home Box Office is committed to bringing the most groundbreaking and creative shows to its audience. 'Sesame Street' is the most important preschool education program in the history of television. We are delighted to be a home for this extraordinary show, helping 'Sesame Street' expand and build its franchise."
HBO has also licensed 150 past episodes of "Sesame Street," 50 episodes of "Pinky Dinky Doo" and "The Electric Company." "I've long admired the creative work of HBO and can't think of a better partner to continue the quality of 'Sesame Street's' programming," Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder of "Sesame Street," said in a statement. "Over the past decade, both the way in which children are consuming video and the economics of the children's television production business have changed dramatically. In order to fund our nonprofit mission with a sustainable business model, Sesame Workshop must recognize these changes and adapt to the times."
Can we expect more "Game of Thrones" parodies?