HBO set to broad­cast ‘Sesame Street’

The China Post - - ARTS -

The Mup­pets, long­time res­i­dents of PBS, are get­ting a sec­ond home at HBO.

The U.S. pre­mium ca­ble chan­nel and Sesame Work­shop, which pro­duces “Sesame Street,” on Thurs­day an­nounced a five-year deal that will ex­pand the “Sesame Street” foot­print and its amount of pro­gram­ming.

The next five sea­sons of the re­spected chil­dren’s se­ries will be avail­able on HBO and its re­lated plat­forms, in­clud­ing HBO GO and HBO On De­mand. The deal will al­low the Sesame Work­shop, a non­profit ed­u­ca­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion, to pro­duce al­most dou­ble the con­tent of pre­vi­ous sea­sons, HBO and the work­shop said.

New episodes will go to HBO first, with PBS sta­tions get­ting the episodes for free but to re­run nine months later. There won’t be any in­ter­rup­tion for “Sesame Street” on PBS, with the cur­rent sea­son air­ing un­til new shows be­come avail­able.

“Our new part­ner­ship with HBO rep­re­sents a true win­ning publicpri­vate part­ner­ship model,” said Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Work­shop’s CEO. He said it pro­vides his or­ga­ni­za­tion with “crit­i­cal fund­ing” to con­tinue pro­duc­ing the show and air­ing it on PBS, its home for 45 years.

Be­sides “Sesame Street,” the work­shop will make a Mup­pets spinoff se­ries and a new orig­i­nal ed­u­ca­tional se­ries for chil­dren. HBO said it also has li­censed more than 150 past episodes of “Sesame Street.”

Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder of the se­ries, said she has “long ad­mired the cre­ative work of HBO and can’t think of a bet­ter part­ner to con­tinue the qual­ity of ‘Sesame Street’s’ pro­gram­ming.” She noted there have been dra­matic changes in the way chil­dren con­sume video and the eco­nom­ics of the kids’ TV busi­ness, and said Sesame Work­shop must “adapt to the times.”

The move by HBO re­flects another re­al­ity: Fledg­ling TV com­peti­tors such as Ama­zon and Net­flix are mak­ing their own for­ays into chil­dren’s pro­gram­ming as part of their stream­ing ser­vices.

The new episodes will be­gin air­ing as early as fall 2015, with HBO the ex­clu­sive, first-run sub­scrip­tion TV dis­tri­bu­tion part­ner for “Sesame Street” and the new se­ries, in both English and Span­ish.

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