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

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


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Oscarfan

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Well, here's some BIG BIG NEWS:

THE SHOW WILL NOW BE A HALF-HOUR, DROPPING THE HOUR.

PBS drops hourlong ‘Sesame Street’ from fall schedule



Sesame Street characters Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover, Abby Cadabby and Big Bird visit Central Park in New York City. (Photo: Richard Termine)


PBS will discontinue the long-running one-hour version of Sesame Street this fall, it announced to stations Wednesday, and will continue airing new half-hour episodes that premiered last year.

The iconic series premiered in November 1969. The new schedule, which takes effect Nov. 16, will feature the 30-minute version at 10 a.m.

PBS Kids and Sesame Workshop jointly decided to discontinue the hourlong program, the announcement said, “in response to the positive station and viewer feedback to the shorter version introduced last fall.”

That feedback included “strong station carriage” of the shorter version, representing 93 percent coverage, Maria Vera, PBS Kids spokesperson, told Current.

PBS launched the 30-minute version last September on weekday afternoons, with the hourlong version airing on weekday mornings.

Both versions are doing well in ratings, according to Craig Reed, executive director at public TV audience research company TRAC Media. Ratings for childrens’ programs are generally higher in morning timeslots, Reed said. While the half-hour show’s numbers are slightly lower than the hourlong program’s, the shorter version “does very well at growing its audience over the lead-in — just what we would expect for a program that is performing at a high level,” he said.

PBS also made the shorter version available for streaming on the PBS Kids website, mobile app and Roku channel. Since the introduction of the shorter format, average monthly viewing of Sesame Streetcontent on PBS Kids digital platforms has increased 40 percent, Vera said.

Public TV executives received the news with mixed reactions. “Despite the history of a one-hour show and its success, I support the change,” said Hildy Ko, program manager at KCTS in Seattle. “Sesame Streetwill remain relevant in the lives of children, families, caregivers and the future of our society because they have an iconic brand that zeros into the heart.”

Plus, a shorter Sesame Street “will probably be more economical as far as production,” Ko said. “It’s always about the money and how we can stretch our pennies.”

But Steve Graziano, managing partner of P3 Public Media in Lincoln, Neb., which programs several public TV stations, said he was “disappointed.”

“Nearly all of our children’s programming is animated, and it’s good to have shows with real people and Muppets that aren’t drawn on a computer,” he said.

To John Decker, programming director at KPBS in San Diego, it “makes good sense that the format ofSesame Street be consistent with the other shows. It also frees up a prime kids’ viewing slot for new and/or existing shows.”

“PBS is riding a wave of success with kids’ programs right now,” he added, “and the additional half-hour in the morning gives them a great opportunity to continue to bring new shows to life.”

Joseph Yezak, program manager of Delta Broadcasting in University Center, Mich., reluctantly agreed. While the hourlong show “is the program I literally grew up with, I understand that PBS has to remain competitive in the kids market,” he said. “Our competition has few to no hourlong programs. So to keep my station competitive, I will be happy to air the 30-minute version — which my 5-year-old daughter enjoys.”

“The bottom line,” Yezak said, “is that any length ofSesame Street is better than no Sesame Street.”
 
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sesamemuppetfan

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Having a main core 6 Muppet cast and shortening the show to half an hour altogether? Yup, they're really trying to blend in with the style of other kid shows alright. It already kinda makes me wonder what the new format this season is gonna look like.

My only hope is that they continue to air the half hour version in the afternoon, depending on what kind of classes I'll end up with throughout the day. (I have one PBS station that airs kiddie programming from early in the morning until about 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and another that airs kiddie programming from the early afternoon until at least 6:30 or 7 pm.)
 

Oscarfan

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On the one hand:
  • This is changing one of the sole remaining concepts of the show since its inception
  • Probably the loss of Abby's Flying Fairy School (eh) and Elmo the Musical (boo)
  • An even more limited amount of inserts per show
  • Almost none of the online reviews for the shorted season 45 episodes have been supportive of the shorter running time, despite SW's claims that it makes the show better for streaming
On the other:
  • 30-minutes is better than nothing
  • Maybe this will free up their own funding and they can do more than 26 shows a season
 

Katzi428

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Who knows, they might keep just Abby's Flying Fairy School and Elmo the Musical. :rolleyes:
 

wiley207

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They could make them into spinoffs or something. Make "Elmo the Musical" into a separate half-hour show or something.

But it is indeed the end of an era...
 

Oscarfan

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They could make them into spinoffs or something. Make "Elmo the Musical" into a separate half-hour show or something.
My main argument for that will always be this: if they split off AFFS or ETM, it'd make sense for PBS to air them alongside SS. In which case, they're would be no point in them being separate; they might as well be a part of the regular hour.
 

Phillip

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They could make them into spinoffs or something. Make "Elmo the Musical" into a separate half-hour show or something.
PBS Kids Sprout and digital delivery like iTunes is the most likely home for Abby's Flying Fairy School and Elmo the Musical. These shorts would work nicely with Sprout's rotation.
 
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