After calling PBS home for 45 years, HBO is now how you first get to “Sesame Street.”
Sesame Workshop, the non-profit group that produces the show, announced Thursday that the next five seasons of the popular educational children’s show will start premiering this fall on the premium cable network, famous for adult dramas such as “The Sopranos” and “Game of Thrones,” and made available to all its streaming services.
The five-year deal allows HBO to widen its programming to include a long-running and prestigious children’s show, while Sesame Workshop will be able to produce twice as much content each year.
The deal doesn’t mean “Sesame Street” has abandoned its PBS roots. The new episodes will be available to PBS and its member stations, free of charge, after a nine-month delay.
Jeffrey D. Dunn, CEO of Sesame Workshop, said in a statement that the partnership with HBO provides the group 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.”
Previously, PBS provided less than 10 percent of the funding for the show. Licensing revenue like DVD sales used to cover the rest of the cost, but that income has been shrinking with the advent of streaming and on-demand viewing.