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"Sesame Street" is moving to a new block in 2020.
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Starting next year, the beloved children’s show will be moving from HBO to the network’s streaming platform HBO Max in a deal that will offer on-demand service for the show’s back catalog as well as a handful of new content.
"Sesame Street is, and always has been, the gold standard for children's programming, and we're thrilled that Sesame Workshop chose HBO Max as its new partner," said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment. "This brand is synonymous with quality and integrity, not to mention that nothing is more important than educating young new minds. This landmark deal perfectly illustrates the type of quality programming HBO Max will offer across every demographic."
Despite a severe financial slump a few years back, the series is about to enter its 51st season, the next five of which will feature 35 episodes per year streamed on HBO Max. The streaming platform will also house the show’s 50-year library of episodes and content as well as several Sesame Street spinoffs including a new season of "Esme & Roy," an animated version of "Monster at the End of This Book" featuring Grover, a documentary-like program that investigates issues families and children face today, and a “late night” talk show, "The Not Too Late Show With Elmo."
The move comes after years of near bankruptcy and uncertainty for Sesame Workshop, the parent company of Sesame Street, where the non-profit show operated at a loss of millions of dollars per year prior to signing on with HBO back in 2015.
"Without this five-year funding commitment from HBO, we would not have a sustainable funding model that would allow for the continued production of the show," Sesame Workshop CEO Jeff Dunn told The Hollywood Reporter upon signing the initial HBO deal in 2015.
Details regarding the financials of the new HBO Max deal have yet to emerge, however industry experts believe Sesame Workshop may have had little say in the matter.
“HBO is in the driver’s seat” when it comes to the program, streaming expert Dan Rayburn tells FOX Business Network. “Sesame Street was been losing millions and millions of dollars due to changes in media industry before signing with HBO. The show was near bankrupt, and only way to keep the show going was to move it to HBO.”
AT&T has set Oct. 29 as the date for an investor presentation that will offer details about HBO Max launch plans — although several programming deals such as "Sesame Street" have been released in recent weeks. The presentation will be held on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank.
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“These streaming services are always targeting kids as a demographic, it’s one of many verticals they target,” Rayburn said. “What’s better than Sesame Street for HBO to roll out for family-related content? "
Meanwhile, Sesame Workshop’s president of media and education chief operating officer, Steve Youngwood, celebrated the deal while praising HBO Max’s growing catalog of content.
"As we celebrate 50 years of Sesame Street and look to the future, we are thrilled to enter into this powerful partnership with HBO Max and their growing offering of best-in-class content," Youngwood said. "Producing this broad slate will help us deliver on our mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger and kinder. We are also excited about partnering with WarnerMedia and AT&T as we seek ways to expand Sesame Workshop's impact around the world."
HBO recently announced that the hit syndicated television show "Friends" will be leaving Netflix for HBO Max as well. Several other shows, such as “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and “Pretty Little Liars,” will also be available on the service, which is set to launch in spring 2020.
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