About the Program


Dad with girls and ElmoElmo and his Muppet friends make a rare primetime appearance in a poignant program aimed at helping families cope with the death of a loved one. Katie Couric and Elmo are featured in the hour-long, HD special, which premieres on April 14 at 8 p.m. (Check your local listings.)

The program addresses specifics like: how to talk to kids about death, how to work through difficult feelings, how to strengthen relationships, and how to move forward as a family.

Within the story, Elmo is saddened by the death of a family member. Couric helps Elmo deal with some “big feelings” through conversation and simple activities. She also introduces him to real stories of families grieving the loss of a parent or spouse.

Elmo's friends help him deal with some big issuesThe documentary portion of the program chronicles four families. Each family is unique, having experienced death through combat, suicide, or illness.  Yet through their varied stories, common struggles emerge, including explaining death to a child; grappling with feelings of sadness, fear, and anger; and celebrating the memories of a loved one.

"Death and loss are a part of life, but they are very difficult for adults to discuss, much less children," says Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Vice President for Outreach and Educational Practices at Sesame Workshop. Dr. Betancourt also points out that one in 20 American children under the age of 15 experiences the death of a parent.

When Families Grieve is Sesame Workshop’s contribution to those who face the daunting challenge of helping a child cope and heal from the painful reality of a death of a loved one.

Sesame Street produced the special in association with David Letterman’s production company Worldwide Pants Incorporated and Lookalike Productions Incorporated.

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