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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. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Wow I really don't know how to handle all this news. In some ways it sounds good, and I'm glad Sesame has finally got some big backing. However I'm still worried about how that will work. I thought that one of the main reasons that Jim Henson and Disney could not come up with a deal in 1990 was the fact that Disney wanted to also have control of Sesame. Now so many years latter they are going to be under control of HBO??? It just seems really off to me, but I hope that they will not try and change things to much.

    I also find it kind of sad that a show that when it was first started was targeted to inner city kids is now being on a more expansive cable channel.
    sesamemuppetfan and CensoredAlso like this.
  2. wiley207

    wiley207 Well-Known Member

    I don't want it to really go off-topic, but these changes seem to invoke a certain song...

  3. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    I just saw the news on NBC and I've stayed up to date on all the changes such as Sonia's retirement and the change of the set, but I didn't know that it would switch networks. So does this mean it will just be reran on PBS for five years? That is a big chance especially since SS has been on PBS or NET before it was PBS. But on the other hand, with everything changing, maybe they want kids who've watched the show on PBS for years to stick with what they're used to. I don't know.

    Another question is whether or now we'd still be able to see the show online. Since I don't get HBO, I thought I'd check on that.

    Okay. Quick edit. I reread the post, and they're saying "nine months." For a few minutes there I was thinking "nine years." So that implies that SS will remain on PBS for season 46, just not as soon. Still, it would be nice to see the shows when they originally air so we can discuss them on the forums.
  4. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    I think we need to make one thing clear here:


    New episodes are simply premiering on HBO first, then a little while later on PBS. That's all. People without HBO will still get to see the new shows. Kids probably won't care/notice if the shows are new or not.

    Here's another article about it, with a little more insight:
  5. mr3urious

    mr3urious Well-Known Member

    Eliminating the full-hour version is indeed disheartening, but to be fair, the show in recent years might as well have been called Sesame Street Presents: The Sesame Street Programming Block Extravaganza Starring Elmo and Abby. And the premieres on HBO are just as baffling. It's bad enough they kept Fraggle Rock all to themselves and didn't so much as allow other networks to air it on Saturday mornings, forcing kids to settle with a short-lived animated series instead.
  6. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that info, Oscar. That's what I thought when I reread the first post, but it's good to reiterate that.

    I have to agree with mr3's comment as well the last few years they never really had more than a half hour worth of new material, so decreasing the length of time of the show doesn't seem to be that big of a chance. If that had happened back in the 80s, that would definitely be a much bigger issue.
  7. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    I suppose for Sesame Workshop, this is the best thing to happen to them financially. Going from 25 to 35 episodes a season is a significant upgrade, and perhaps the 30 minute format will allow for more fresh ideas to come in rather than a repeating of segments (allowing that some repeating is a show tradition). However, not being first-run immediately on PBS raises some questions.

    Perhaps the show's goals have changed in the 46 years since it premiered. I'm not an expert on education, but perhaps the prevalence of pre-K programs and classes has increased so much that the show has outlived that specific goal of providing that to communities where it wasn't available. I don't know how common Head Start programs and the like are across the country. So the show maybe is more of a supplement to the early childhood education rather than the education itself nowadays, and SW decided it could still reach a large audience through HBO/HBO Go/YouTube and eventually PBS and the money was too much to pass up. The delay in the first-run episodes being put on PBS is rough, but sometimes you have to take a deal even if it's not perfect. Plus you can't pass up a five-year commitment.
  8. sesamemuppetfan

    sesamemuppetfan Well-Known Member

    OK, so basically the Season 46 episodes are gonna air on HBO first and then come to PBS 9 months later?

    After letting that sink in for a minute...I have a question for all you lucky devils who do get HBO: Do they usually put new episodes on their website after they air on TV?
  9. DTF

    DTF Well-Known Member

    Some good points - as I've said, my main concern is that this won't be reaching the free public airwaves right away, but it's true that if PBS goes belly up there does need to be a venue, but as one poster said, the Disney family of channels is a much more logical fit, even if there is an HBO Family.

    But, if the Youtube stuff is SW's main vehicle now, maybe it and the website will be the wave of the future anyway. Since I onlyi get 20 channels on my basic package, being on Social Security Disability(actually, I don't even get ESPN, so my joke about them doesn't really apply :) ) it seems very disconcernting for them not to try to put it on a more accessible channel right away. So, yeah, I could be wrong about this, but that's one reason my Subway fresh take (Okay, getting too ESPN Radio here :) ) was more on the humorous side than outright disgust. Sort of like when you figure a team will finish below .500 and they win the World Series.

    And, being close to giving up TV altogether, maybe it won't matter to me anyway, I watch so little of it.
  10. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Yes, and the typically keep the entire series up. They still have all the Flight of the Conchords episodes up.
  11. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    Well, the nice thing is this may give some human characters a chance for more airtime. We know that Maria's gone, but we may see more of Susan and Bob. Just a thought.

    Thanks for letting us know, Oscar. I think with that said we can probably still discuss the eps on the forum when they originally air.

    That's always been my system of watching a show on a channel that I don't get, looking for it online the next day. :)
  12. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    We should also be so lucky: Sesamstraat suffered a similar fate, going from 30 minutes to 15. And from what I've seen, the format works fine for them.
  13. cjd874

    cjd874 Well-Known Member

    I certainly didn't see this coming at all. This is truly a sign of the times...Sesame Street pioneered children's TV programming, and now it's a 30-minute program, just like dozens of other TV shows it inspired. It's also a statement about children's attention spans these days. But what is even more surprising...HBO?! Sesame Workshop is in such a dire financial situation that it has to sign a deal with HBO to continue generating revenue? DVDs certainly don't cut it anymore.
    sesamemuppetfan likes this.
  14. sesamemuppetfan

    sesamemuppetfan Well-Known Member

    I took a look. Is it fair to assume that any episode of any series as to be watched via HBO NOW or HBO GO?
  15. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

  16. sesamemuppetfan

    sesamemuppetfan Well-Known Member

    Typo: any episode of each series HAS to be watched via HBO NOW or HBO GO.

    So to rephrase in detail...I just went to HBO.com, picked a random show ("True Blood"), chose an episode, clicked on "WATCH", and then was given the choice to "stream my favorite HBO programs" with either HBO NOW or HBO GO.
  17. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Oh, I have no idea. I use HBO GO directly.
  18. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Does Sesamstraat have a similar format to the current American Sesame Street, or is it more like the pre-2002 format?
  19. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    The latter.
  20. Schfifty

    Schfifty Well-Known Member

    Wow... I really don't know what to say about this. It really shocks me that they're switching to a half-hour length after being a full hour for pretty much its whole span, but leaving PBS, even temporarily? This whole thing goes beyond words.

    Now what are children going to watch on PBS for the next nine months? It just won't feel the same without Sesame Street being in its traditional morning spot.

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