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  3. Sesame Street Season 49
    Sesame Street's 49th season officially began Saturday November 17 on HBO. After you see the new episodes, post here and let us know your thoughts.

Sesame Street shrinks to 30 minutes, new shows will premiere on HBO and PBS nine months later

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by Oscarfan, Aug 12, 2015.


What is the biggest major change Sesame Street has been through in the past 46 years?

  1. Adding the first daily repetitive segment, Elmo's World, beginning in 1998

  2. Reducing the annual shows from 130 episodes in 1998 eventually down to 26 episodes in 2003

  3. Changing from an unpredictable "commercial" format to a more predictable "block" format in 2002

  4. Shrinking from a 60 minute show to a 30 minute show in fall 2015

  5. New shows debuting on HBO, then airing on PBS nine months later beginning in fall 2015


  1. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    While the fiscal benefits are admirable at best, the fact still stands.

    Sure, it's still on PBS, but lets we forget, how incredibly gaulish it is to take a free public television show and cart it off to not just a cable network, but a premium cable network. And then have the "sure, we'll give this to PBS free of charge, just well after the privileged kids have already seen it." Yep. That's what you get for not being born into the right family. The champion of sharing and tolerance now says "hey, you little moocher class twerps, if you want to see the new Sesame Streets without waiting until you're too old to still like the show, get your deadbeat parents to fork over extra cash!" Nice message. :oops:

    I've said this almost as many times as there are preschool shows, but it's not like Sesame Street is even unique as far as being a preschool show is. There's at least 3 or 4 channels devoted just to preschool programming. There's a new preschool show every week it seems. I know that it's difficult to stay relevant in a sea of Paw Patrol merchandise falling off the shelves. This could help them yes, but in the end it could backfire spectacularly.

    By all means, I never really doubted that as the show is such a staple that if it got cancelled there would be massive waves. And, like, what the heck was PBS going to replace it with? Nothing as long lasting or with a massive cultural impact. But you can clearly tell PBS was trying to squeeze the show they love to drag out when they lose funding out of the network. If HBO is indeed the savior here, by all means this paints a bleak picture. Though I doubt that was all that fueled this decision.

    Seriously. A crappy half hour version of the show you have to wait 9 months to see free? I don't see Sesame Street lasting much longer if this is their business model.

    (edit) I deleted a previous post of mine due to embarrassing behavior. But this is pretty grim news, tempered only with hints of "ehhh, at least SW is getting some money out of it".
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  2. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    I'm sure everyone will get to see the new stuff on YouTube.

    This isn't immediately affecting me because, as I said, I can see these new shows as they air. I'm sorry about people who can't access it; that's one of the things that's a negative point on this for me.
  3. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure you can get HBO in your cheap/basic cable packages.

    But you bring up the same point I've been making about outlets like Netflix and such: not everybody has Netflix, and not everybody can get Netflix because not everybody is able to obtain regular internet access, so what's the point of dumping a bunch of new shows straight to Netflix (something that even JHC is guilty of) when only a small percentage of people are going to see it anyway? I know a lot of it has to do with more creative freedom and less corporate influence, but you have to have an audience and ratings to survive.
  4. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Netflix is popular and money-making enough that it can afford to do that. I don't think ratings is something that applies to it. Views probably, if they can track those things.
  5. DTF

    DTF Well-Known Member

    I have to leave in a few minutes, but I just read this on Twitter and came here...

    Boy, this is dumb...

    Expect a parody later like my one with the Word on the Street being "Donations"...

    Who wants to bet Sonia Manzano left the show in protest? I think it's quite plausible...

    I would have understood the 30 minute format if they got rid of AFFS and ETM and just had them packaged as a separate show. Actually would have been like the old cartoons with 1 Bugs Bunny, 1 Road Runner or somesuch, and then a 5 or so minute sketch in between. Then a 10-12 minutes street story followed by letter/number of the day, without block formats, so more stuff could be put in. Yeah, not fun but could have stomached it.

    But, HBO?


    It's not on everyone's basic cable, not everyone even has cable and...it's HBO!

    I'd rather have it on a show that generally is family friendly rather than that. I mean, I'd put it on ESPN before I'd put it there, because you could then have sports themes centered around the other stuff. The same way our kids in church have change wars and other cute little contests that are fun for them with the Gospel message to draw them in, the sports and games could be centered around helping them learn important basic stuff.

    It wouldn't be great, it would probably stink, but it still wouldn't be HBO.

    Not quite the rant of some others, but such a comical rant is more my style than the extreme anger of some.

    Besides, there is a small part of me that would like to see Mike and Mike from ESPN Radio going off topic and discussing the latest SS program if they need to draw viewers. It would be funny, at least.
  6. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    As far as a couple shows go, some Netflix originals get released to DVD. I know for a fact at least Dreamworks is releasing its shows to DVD... or at least they just released Turbo. Of course, that's the only show that's actually finished a season. There was supposedly a release of the Netflix exclusive fifth season of Arrested Development, but it kept going back and forth when it was to be released and if it was.

    But yes, you do need ratings to survive, and that's where things get a little complicated. Though, at least its more intuitive than the actual TV ratings system which deals with how select groups are representational.

    I know for a fact that at least half of an episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (the half that deals with a major subject) gets released every week. If they can keep that deal up, it wouldn't be nearly as bad as this sounds. I just get this sneaky feeling that SW will start being a little less generous with YT uploads of clips, if not HBO.

    On that subject, the real sore point is I know they need to have the long period of refusal to alternate media outlets because that's how these things work. But 9 months is a bit excessive. I mean, even 5 or 6 would be reasonable and a better compromise.

    Still, if they're involved, the least they could do was keep the show the full hour.
  7. vettech28

    vettech28 Well-Known Member

    HBO, really? I mean, not all families with kids have HBO, probably for a good reason. I'm not sure how I feel about PBS dropping the hour long version of the show in favor of the half-hour shows.

    I'm nervous about how this move will effect the show's ratings and the show in general.
    CensoredAlso likes this.
  8. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    How ironic that a show that was originally designed to reach children of all income brackets is going to a premium cable channel. It does soften the blow that HBO will foot the bill and then give it to PBS for free; that protects it from threats to the funding. (Hopefully HBO will not cut SST off.)

    Fun fact: My family never had HBO. I didn't see Fraggle Rock until much, much later, when Amazon had a Black Friday sale on the box sets.
    Drtooth, CensoredAlso and Phillip like this.
  9. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

  10. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Question: Nothing is really said in the articles about HBO that they'll be carrying the show as a 30-minute program. Is it too much to assume that HBO will air the show as 60-minutes, while PBS will shorten it to 30?
  11. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    And the way everybody is bellyaching over HBO being the new home of SST . . . did it ever occur to anyone that perhaps the actual channel it may end up being aired on is HBO Family?
    Phillip likes this.
  12. wiley207

    wiley207 Well-Known Member

    Another good case is Warner Bros.'s "Wabbit: a Looney Tunes Production" and "Be Cool Scooby-Doo" going to air on Boomerang, instead of regular Cartoon Network. Only a small percentage of people in America get Boomerang, so this means the shows may wind up getting low ratings.
  13. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    The shows are going to air on PBS anyway.
  14. DTF

    DTF Well-Known Member

    Admittedly, no, I don't know all 7,283 channels :) so didn't know one existed, but that just means even fewer will be able to see it right away, and not going to the original underprivileged kids via public access is the main focus of my parody. Which is now up under fan fiction. If this is my last visit here, at least for a long while, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy it and other fanfiction stuff I mention here, with my books and blogs as well.
  15. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Comcast has always refused to carry Boomerang because they said it was a commercial-free channel (hmm, that didn't stop them from carrying Noggin) . . . but from what I understand has happened to Boomerang recently, I guess it doesn't even matter anymore at this point.
  16. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Moving to HBO sounds odd, because I don't associate it as a children's/family channel. The channel did broadcast Fraggle Rock during its original run, but has HBO had any other hit children's series? Does the channel currently have any shows for children (the press release mentions there will be limited reruns of Pinky Dinky Doo and The Electric Company)?

    Hopefully PBS will continue airing reruns during this time. I wonder if PBS will only air the 30-minute versions of last years episodes (or if they'll edit more hour-long episodes into 30 minutes). I can't imagine PBS rerunning the hour-long version for the nine months before they can get the next season (since I'm under the impression that it's PBS who wanted to shorten the show).

    It was said that HBO will be allowed to broadcast 150 existing episodes. I wonder if these will be from recent seasons (if it's just this, will PBS be allowed to air them?), the "classic era", in-between eras, or a big mix of the various eras. I feel like the classic-era would be best for HBO. Maybe air them late at night and brand it "Late-Night Sesame Street Classics". Or maybe rerun the classics in prime time (would HBO rerun a children's show in a prime-time slot?) if not during the 5-8 hours (I sort of feel this would be better to rerun episodes from the "around the corner" era and beyond).

    It was also mentioned that reruns of The Electric Company will air on HBO. I wonder if it meant the original or the new series. The newer one seems more likely, even if the original would be better for HBO, but the press release doesn't mention any other "old school" shows from Sesame Workshop. I also wonder if Sesame Workshop or HBO would object to airing the original, considering the recent Bill Cosby controversy.

    In the last few years, Sesame Workshop has been known to post almost every new clip shortly before they premiered (with some exceptions, like street stories). I wonder if Sesame Workshop will continue doing this before each season, or if less new clips will debut online.
  17. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    The YouTube videos are too crucial to Sesame's current appeal and advertising to give up.
  18. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I didn't think they would give them up completely, just post less clips before they are broadcast.

    At least if Sesame Street is going to have first-run episodes on a channel other than PBS, it's a commercial-free channel (are the various preschool channels commercial-free?).
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  19. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    We were told by Sesame Workshop today that the HBO version will be 30 minutes as well. They worked really hard to get funding and keep the show on PBS. The silver lining is the five year deal ensures we get a 50th season which might not have happened otherwise.
    Oscarfan likes this.
  20. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    At the risk of turning this into a political discussion, anybidy else notice the coincidence in the timing of all this? This is happening while the Republican candidates are going around the debate circuits, campaigning to be Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential election.

    And for the past hundreds of years, what has always been on the Republicans' agenda of their administration? Cut funding for PBS, if not nuke PBS altogether. Lest we forget the media firestorm of controversy Meathead Romney caused last time when he said, ":I like Big Bird, but..."

    At this point, I almost want to think that tis time around, SW took all of this into consideration, and figured it's only going to be a matter of ftimebefore one of these politicos carries out the dastardly deed of axing PBS and its funding, and decided that this was a last-ditch effort to ensure that the show will carry on, even if PBS doesn't.

    Again, I have a feeling that we'll be seeing the show on HBO Family, rather than just standard HBO; I too find it odd that SST would share a home with Lena Dunham's homemade porn.

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