Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind the classic children's show, announced a new partnership with HBO on Thursday that will bring the next five seasons of the series to the premium cable channel and its streaming services.
The partnership means that Sesame Street will be able to produce almost twice as much new content in each season. The show will still be made available to PBS and its member stations, which has aired the program since 1969, only now it will be free of charge for them after a nine-month window.
The deal moves HBO back into the kids programming business, which it abandoned years ago, at a much lower cost than creating its own original series. Rival Netflix has moved aggressively into that arena with shows from DreamWorks Animation and others, and says kids programming has been a major driver of subscriber growth among families.
Sesame Workshop CEO Jeffrey D. Dunn said the deal "“provides Sesame Workshop with the critical funding it needs to be able to continue production of Sesame Streetand 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 the next five seasons of Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop will also produce a Sesame Street Muppet spin-off series as well as develop a new educational series for children.
The new episodes of the show will begin airing as early as late fall 2015 on HBO.