Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie during the presentation of the NDR and Deutsche Post commemorative stamp of ‘Sesamstrasse’ on March 2, 2020 in Hamburg, Germany.
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“Sesame Street” will soon have a new format as it turns the page on season 55, ending the children’s show’s magazine-style structure, Sesame Workshop executives told The Hollywood Reporter.
The new format coincides with the end of the show’s five-year rights deal with Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming giant Max. The changes are the most significant since 2016, when the show changed its length from one hour to 30 minutes. The revamped “Sesame Street” will debut in 2025.
The long-running children’s show featuring characters such as Elmo and Big Bird has faced a dramatic past few years as it moved its library to HBO Max, now Max. Since that move, the show’s previous home, PBS, has been getting episodes nine months after they premiere. Last year, Max yanked about 200 older episodes of “Sesame Street” as the streaming service refined content for its target audience, which isn’t children.
The new show’s most significant renovation will be changing the content style to two 11-minute narrative-driven segments pieced together by a new animated series called “Tales from 123,” the executives told The Hollywood Reporter. The change allows the writer’s room to develop two storylines that can play off each other to create a more nuanced experience for the viewers, they said.
“With any change, you have evolutions, and then you have things that are slightly bigger steps, while still staying core to who we are,” Steve Youngwood, the CEO of Sesame Workshop, told the trade publication. “We felt like this was a moment to step back and think bigger about how we evolve it.”
The revamp has been planned for some time, and it’s a coincidence that the change aligns with the end of the Max deal, according to the report. The show’s current deal with Max ends after season 55, which is set to begin about a year from now. Sesame Workshop has not indicated whether it will renew the deal or go elsewhere.
“The fact that it aligns with where we go after the current Warner deal is over, it just happens to be where the timing is,” Youngwood told the publication. “We always want to be relevant to the audience. We always want to give the audience some reasons to watch the new [episodes], while they can still watch the library.”
A representative for Max didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.