You Can Hardly Count How Much Sesame Street Is Coming to HBO Max

Sesame Street will make a splash on HBO Max.
Photo: Sesame Workshop

Can the Count count to over 5,000? He’ll have to, if he wants to keep track of just how much Sesame Street will soon be on HBO Max.

Sesame Workshop, which controls Sesame Street and its other brands, just signed a five year deal with the upcoming Warner Bros.-centric streaming service, which will kick in after its current deal with solo HBO. The deal includes five new 35-episode seasons of Sesame Street, several annual specials, a live-action late-night talk show hosted by Elmo, a new season of the animated show Esme & Roy, two new animated Sesame Street spinoffs, a docuseries—oh, and the entire library of back episodes of Sesame Street, which numbers almost 5,000 total. This will all start in the spring of 2020 with the 51st season of Sesame Street.

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The one asterisk here is not all of those back episodes will be available simultaneously. According to the press release, it will be “a broad collection of Sesame Street episodes selected from the past 50 years—many available to the public on-demand for the first time ever.” So, it sounds like more of an extensive greatest hits rather than a comprehensive catalog. But the whole catalog is included in the deal, so who’s to say how that expands over the five years?

Though this deal is quite substantial, Sesame Street will continue to be available for free. New episodes will premiere on HBO Max and later they’ll air, for free, on PBS Kids. The goes for all the new shows too. According to Deadline, while specifics weren’t revealed, “HBO Max’s exclusivity period is in the ballpark of the nine-month window new Sesame Street episodes had on HBO before made available free of charge to PBS and its member stations, with both sides remaining flexible.” Also, this deal is only in the United States.

You may be thinking “who cares?” when it comes to something like this. But all of these streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+, Peacock, etc.) are battling for content. So for HBO Max to land a marquee name like Sesame Street is a big deal. It’s a brand everyone knows and the service can brag that it has the exclusive.

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About the author

Germain Lussier

Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo