Back in August, we found out that first-run episodes of Sesame Street, the long-running children’s series about fuzzy and playful puppets teaching kids to read and share, would be moving from its free home on PBS to HBO, a premium network generally associated with dragons and mobsters and wine and nudity. The reasoning for the deal was that it will allow the show to “to produce almost twice as much new content as previous seasons” and make it “available free to PBS and its member stations after a nine-month window” for the first time ever.
Today, we have a few more details about the move. The highlights:
- The show’s 46th season will debut on HBO January 16 at 9 a.m.
- It will switch from its standard hour-long format to a half-hour one, with back-to-back episodes — two new ones for the premiere, followed by one new and one repeat in the weeks after — running every Saturday morning.
- The new season will feature a new character, Nina, “a young, bilingual, Hispanic woman” who is described as ” a witty, compassionate and charismatic role model who comes up with out-of-the-box solutions to Elmo and the gang’s problems.”
It will also debut a new segment, which Variety describes thusly:
“Smart Cookies,” Cookie Monster’s all-new segment, features the blue furry friend and a team of crime-fighting cookie friends who 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 its Smart Cookie car and fancy gadgets, but their brains always turn out to be their most impressive gizmo.
If I know HBO like I think I know HBO, this segment will end up with Cookie Monster chugging Jameson out of a flask and getting into a shootout with The Crumb’s corner boys, and an Emmy nomination for Best Drama.