Sesame Street made headlines in June when HBO announced that it had acquired first-run rights to Sesame Street. Under the deal, episodes will first be made available on HBO streaming service HBO Now and then distributed to public broadcaster PBS nine months later. PBS stations will receive the episodes for free.
This week, HBO announced that the new Sesame Street series will debut on 16 January 2016. HBO have made a significant investment into Sesame Street, with the show returning with a brand new set, new opening titles. It isn’t just the show that is on the move. On the show, several characters will move into new homes. Elmo will move into a brownstone at 123 Sesame Street; Cookie Monster will move into an apartment above Hooper’s Store; Big Bird will settle into a new nest; Oscar will be in a new garbage can.
In Australia, the new-look episodes of Sesame Street will air on ABC TV. While the Australian home of first-run HBO content is Foxtel, the license agreement remains open to the ABC.
ABC head of childrens programming Deirdre Brennan has advised Mediaweek that the new season, its 46th, will premiere on ABC KIDS from Monday March 21st 2016 to air from 9:30am daily. A March debut for new episodes is keeping with patterns long established in the scheduling of the show.
Being produced for pre-school aged children, there is little imperative to have episodes air day and date with the US airdate. “Fast-tracking is not really a driver for preschool audiences,” Brennan explained. “This timing would allow for any related premiere rights in the US as well as the delivery of materials internationally,” she said.