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‘Sesame Street’ to move to HBO in January

MUMBAI: On 16 January 2016, ‘Sesame Street’ will launch season 46 of the show on HBO with the boldest changes to the Street to date, including 30-minute episodes, new preschool-relevant themes, new show open and closing songs, an updated set, a new segment called Smart Cookies and a new cast member, Nina.

Earlier, the show was on US pubcaster PBS. Content will be available on PBS Kids.

On 16 January, two new episodes of ‘Sesame Street’ will debut on HBO. New episodes will also simultaneously debut on HBO Latino and will be dubbed into Spanish. Families will also be able to watch new and past seasons of ‘Sesame Street’ daily on HBO Family, as well as five years of library episodes available for streaming on HBO Now and HBO Go. Episodes will also be available on HBO On Demand and affiliate portals.

‘Sesame Street’ content continues to be available to PBS Kids viewers on weekdays and Sundays on local stations, and on the PBS Kids Video App. Season 46 episodes will begin airing on PBS KIDS next fall.

Sesame Workshop executive VP, creative director Brown Johnson said, “Families will see fun and fresh changes to Sesame Street and can depend on their favorite Muppet friends to provide them with engaging and educational content. We’re excited to bring the timeless lessons of ‘Sesame Street’ to HBO viewers; like learning numbers from The Count, inner strength from Elmo, and kindness from Abby.”

In a departure from the show’s longstanding one-hour format, every episode now runs for 30 minutes, helping kids focus their attention and engage with each story. ‘Sesame Street’ will continue to deliver lessons in ways that aim to delight viewers.

Sesame Street’s well-known theme song and show open have a new upbeat update. In fact, this will be the first time that the show open takes place in the Sesame Street neighbourhood. Fans will be thrilled to see more of the neighbourhood than ever before, but not to worry, the theme song will have a familiar melody and continue to wonder ‘how to get’ to Sesame Street.

Cookie Monster has an all-new segment, “Smart Cookies,” where he continues to work on his self-regulation skills. In “Smart Cookies,” Cookie Monster and a team of crime-fighting cookie friends are on-call, day and night, to thwart the continued efforts of The Crumb, a villain with many tricks up his sleeve. The all-star team is aided by their Smart Cookie car and some fancy gadgets, but in the end, their brains turn out to be their most impressive gizmo. Self-control and critical thinking help save the day! Kids at home are invited to become a ‘Smart Cookie’ too. As Cookie Monster explains, “A Smart Cookie has to stop and think things through.” And that’s a useful skill for both Cookie and kids.

‘Sesame Street’ is also introducing a fresh face to the neighborhood. As a community that has a long-standing history of modeling diversity, it was important to producers to represent this in the new addition to the cast. “Nina,” a young, bilingual, Hispanic woman, uses her wit, compassion and charisma to help the furry residents of Sesame Street solve their daily dilemmas, providing a positive role model for preschoolers. Played by Suki Lopez, “Nina” is very excited to have moved to Sesame Street where she works at the laundromat and the bike store. She’s a tinkerer, a builder and a fixer. Her natural curiosity allows her to come up with out-of-the box solutions to Elmo and the gang’s problems, modeling creative problem-solving strategies.

One of the most noteworthy changes for viewers is the updated, reimagined, and visually vibrant new set. This new set will familiarise little viewers with the homes of their Sesame friends:

  • Elmo has moved into the 123 Sesame Street brownstone, and his bedroom is the cornerstone of the building. Like many preschoolers, Elmo’s room has colourful cubbies for his toys and he proudly displays his crayon drawings on his wall.
  • Cookie Monster has moved above Hooper’s Store, and as you can imagine, he always smells something baking.
  • Abby finds inspiration in her new garden which is full of bright and dazzling flowers and plants.
  • Big Bird has a new nest, and like most of his fowl friends, his beautiful new home is in a tree!
  • Oscar’s can has been updated and moved to a more central location so he can add grouchy commentary to any situation. He’ll also be popping up in trash cans, recycling bins and composting receptacles across the street!

Sesame Street executive producer Carol-Lynn Parente said, “I am so excited for kids to explore our updated neighborhood and discover where their favorite characters live. ‘Sesame Street’ has always been the ideal play date for preschoolers; now that play date is focused on topics and themes that are very engaging to kids, with our signature educational messages embedded into laughter and music.”