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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. antsamthompson9

    antsamthompson9 Well-Known Member

  2. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I know this is reading waaaaaay too much into this, but SW just posted a clip of the new Play with Elmo DVD, and there's something interesting with it...

    It really seems that this DVD is a collection of Elmo segments that look like they were intended for something besides a DVD. Which leads me to three theories.

    • This was intended as a segment for Sesame Street, but with the new 30 minute run time, it didn't fit and instead of blowing the money on an already produced segment they can't use, they put it on DVD.
    • This is a segment for Sesame Street produced specifically for a 30 minute run time to fill in the gap that ETM left for Elmo content.
    • This segment was produced with foreign series in mind.

    I was going to say that maybe this was a test run/pilot for that supposed Sesame Spinoff, but this seems to have been produced before that announcement. Either way, if this is just a DVD with Elmo hosting very much in a Play with Me Sesame style, it's a weird DVD.
  3. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    I think it looks like stuff made for a DVD.
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The thing is I know that, but it really feels that this is a little too specific for just a DVD. It feels like this was something else, even if it isn't. I could totally see something like this as a segment. That's why it feels weird.
  5. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    I don't see it being any different than the Monster Manners DVD, where the framing scenes are (from what I can tell) just Cookie and Prairie sketches based on a similar theme.

    I can see this as sort of that, just a game with Elmo and some segments following each game that relate to it in some manner.
  6. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I feel like what appears to be the linking footage for the DVD looks very appropriate for video linking footage.
  7. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    It sounds like Ryan Dillon is still having a hard time getting Elmo's voice just right.
  8. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Ryan's been doing just fine; it's useless to expect the new performers to sound exactly like their predecessors in every way.
  9. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Yeah, he sounds nothing like Richard!
  10. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    That's probably it. Kinda looks cheap, though. The PWMS backdrop and just Elmo. I guess they aren't putting that much money into these things because the home video physical media market keeps shrinking.

    Other than a tiny glottal/nasal minutia, Ryan sounds closer to Elmo than most recasts do to their respective original characters. I still fail to see why sounding the same always trumps being able to capture as much of the character traits and details as possible. I'm just impressed that for the longest time a death or retirement meant years of not seeing a certain character due to lack of permanent recast, and how SW didn't skip a beat with Elmo. I mean, that's their money character. I really like the idea of understudies taking over roles if something happens, rather than leaving a huge gap in the cast. In both Sesame and Muppet productions, this means we're actually seeing more classic characters than the ones meant to replace them.
  11. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    I'm guessing you meant to say Kevin there and I disagree. I think Ryan is pretty spot on with Elmo, but oh well, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    Well, said Tooth. So we give a big kudos to Billy Backhurst for keeping Ernie alive while Steve is busy with other things. Still, it would be nice to see him perform Ernie again on occasion when he gets a chance.
  12. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    You obviously didn't pick up on his sarcasm.
  13. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Not that I was skeptical, but the fact it wasn't announced that he was taking over before last season aired kinda threw me. But seems Billy went from understudy to main-ish performer quickly. And by all means, that means more Ernie due to the ready availability. Jim's death left a huge gap especially with Ernie. Now we have these understudies, some actually trained by the performers, and they're able to bring back characters faster than ever before. Even though there were always cases of role switching here and there due to availability, or even just a character performing another in the same scene and not being dubbed over. Like that "Comedian who shall remain nameless" show episode where the sandwich was performed by Richard, and then Sweetums comes in and he's David Rudman.

    As long as none of the Muppet recasts are as much of a disparity as the guy who played Junior Gorg in the cartoon series. That one was waaaaaaaaay off. yeah, Apples and Oranges on a technicality, but still, they couldn't find someone who could have tried to sound like the character?
  14. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    Don't get me wrong, I think Dillon is a great Elmo. I only meant that Ryan's Elmo voice isn't very consistent, he seems to sound a bit different every few times we see him.
  15. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    Yeah. I was a bit concerned there myself, because it seems a bit like that Kismit the Toad deal with Artie Esposito back in 2009. But the biggest difference there is that we have had a discussion about Ernie being recast before this happened, so this is sort of what fans wanted. But with Kermit, being the head honcho of the Muppets, we sort of want him to be one Muppet/one voice at least for as long as Steve is available to perform him. Sorry to bring this up again, but I just wanted to post my thoughts in response to DrTooth's post. I know what you mean though. After all, we knew about Kevin's resignation, Jerry's death, Fran's retirement so seeing their characters recast is expected. But when it's just thrown at you, you always think, "Okay. What's going on?"

    Yeah. I know what you mean. Heck, I recall recently somebody thought it was Kevin playing Elmo in one video with Ryan's Elmo, so that was how good it was. But other times people know the difference.

    Sort of like Billy West's Elmer Fudd voice. For some lines he's pretty spot on with Arthur Q.'s original Fudd voice. Other times it sounds more like Hal Smith's Fudd voice.

    Daffyfan: Creating off-topic posts since 2003. :)
  16. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Not to mention Ernie did have an understudy before during Play with me Sesame. But when a recast comes out of nowhere, it does throw you. I remember seeing one of Eric's first appearances as Grover and wondering "what the heck happened to Frank Oz?" While retrospectively I get what Disney was trying with Artie as Kermit, Sesame Workshop's characters were handled better on their recasts. Plus, like you said, we knew about the various retirements before hand, so it wasn't completely out of left field.
  17. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    I was just thinking. Since the new season starts on HBO in November and airs on PBS nine months later, then that means it premieres on PBS in August next year, which is close to the time new episodes usually begin airing. So assuming that every season will be starting in November that means we'll be getting new episodes on PBS the same time we always do except a month earlier.
  18. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    Yeah. I know what you mean, sometimes when it happens it does end up being a permanent thing like in Eric's case (even though Frank does still perform his characters on SS on occassion) or a one-shot deal like in Artie's case, so that does leave the question of Billy Backhurst's Ernie. Whether it's just a for now thing, like when John T played him on PWMS like you mentioned or if this is a permanent recast like in Eric's case is still unknown, especially since Muppet Wiki still lists Steve as Ernie's official puppeteer. Seems like they don't always give us a "heads up" on these things.
  19. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    In regards to the poll itself, yes, I would say that to shrink the show from an hour to a half-hour is perhaps the biggest and most radical change yet. From day 1, SST was always an experimental show, and adding EW and changing from a commercial/magazine to a block format was all part of the on-going experiment since it turned out kids were losing interest in the show during the last fifteen minutes, and that kids like predictability. The episode count going down isn't unusual for any show either; back in the early days of television, a weekly series used to have upwards of like 40 episodes a season, by the 60s that number dropped to like 32, by the 70s it dropped to 24, by the 90s 13, by the 2000s 10, and now in many cases shows can have as little as 5 or 6 episodes a season.

    But yeah, cutting it down from an hour to a half-hour is quite the major change: in spite of a shift from magazine to block, the show still has a consistent tone to it throughout, because it was still an hour show; cutting it in half and losing half the content feels like a less natural change.
  20. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The only things that continue to conflict me are the 9 month window (6 would be sufficient) and the half hour format. Now, obviously the half hour format was something I'd say PBS goaded them into, so HBO is completely blameless here. As I said before, on the one hand they edited the street stories in the half hour rerun editions, on the other hand, with all the two and three times a season rerun footage, you can tell they were having trouble filling the 45 minutes before ETM. Though I still don't get why they refused out and out to run the already taped and paid for segments made in the US in English only to be dubbed for the foreign markets. Especially considering how strapped for cash they are.

    Anyway, if they can make good enough street stories that fit into the allotted time rather than truncated, rushed plot lines (they had some this past season that felt uneven), I don't really mind. No more of the same Abby cartoons over and over.

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