Here’s something you may not have seen coming: Sesame Street, the long-running education children’s series, is moving from the independently operated non-profit organization PBS to premium cable network HBO. Sounds odd, doesn’t it? HBO is home to some truly groundbreaking series, nearly all of which are adult-themed and not suitable for children (read: Game of Thrones, The Sopranos). So why bring Bird Bird and friends into the fold? For Sesame Workshop, it’s simple: the company’s been running out of funds to continue producing episodes of the show and a partnership such as this was the only way to keep things going. It’s mutually beneficial when you really think about it. HBO is now in direct competition with Netflix and Amazon, and the streaming services have been offering content for kids for years now. By becoming the new, exclusive home for the still hugely popular Sesame Street, HBO firmly plants a stake in reaching a young demographic.
The partnership doesn’t end there. HBO is a premium service after all and requires a monthly subscription. Those families who don’t pay up shouldn’t fret; your children won’t be deprived of learning everything that Sesame Street teaches. The new episodes that air on HBO will eventually come to PBS after a nine-month exclusivity window. The deal allows Sesame Workshop to “produce almost twice as much new content as previous seasons” and later “make the show available free of charge to PBS and its member stations,” according to a press release. This pact will run through the next five seasons of the series.
“Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning public-private partnership model,” said Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop’s CEO in the release. “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.”
“We are absolutely thrilled to help secure the future of Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop’s mission for the nation’s kids and families,” said HBO execs Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo. “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.”
Sesame Street will air new episodes on HBO as early as late fall 2015. HBO has licensed over 150 library episodes of the series in addition to about 50 past episodes of Sesame Workshop’s other children’s series Pinky Dinky Doo and The Electric Company. Additionally, the Workshop is also working with HBO on producing two new series, one of which is a Sesame Street Muppet spinoff.
What would happen if you invited the bastard Jon Snow to a dinner party? Late Night with Seth Meyers answers that question in full in the latest high-profile Game of Thrones parody. Kit Harrington, Snow’ portrayer on HBO’s hit fantasy drama, is totally game here and the laughs are plentiful. But only if you’re properly educated–spoilers abound. As is the case with the best kind of parodies, I wouldn’t want to say any more than I already have for your enjoyment. So with that, have at it!
One more thing. Be sure to jump after the break to watch yet another recent Thrones parody, this one hailing from an unlikely source–Sesame Street! Then again, we all know by now the furry friends can pull off entertaining spoofs; see their previously released House of Cards treatment for proof.
Categorize this one under: what the!? … okay that was amazing.
Sesame Street has pulled off one of the best House of Cards parodies to date with House of Bricks, a four-minute adaptation of the classic children’s story about the three little pigs and the big bad wolf. The protagonist here is the wolf who goes by Frank Underwolf (points!) and he goes around blowing down the poorly constructed houses owned by the little pigs. Even if you’re slightly familiar with Kevin Spacey’s iconic character from the Netflix series, you’ll find this parody plenty funny. It recreates the opening credits sequence, Underwolf has a penchant to speak directly into the camera, and it’s as if the writers from the show had a hand in his Southern drawl dialogue. The best bit might be at the very end–did Sesame Street just predict the calamitous conclusion for Frank?
House of Cards returns for a third season this Friday, Feb. 27, to Netflix.
“G,” a spoof of the television show Glee and Journey’s song, “Don’t Stop Believin’.” To prepare for G-gionals, the G Club members sing a song about the letter “G” and the two sounds it makes. Sesame Street’s 42nd season begins September 26th, 2011.