Big Bird to HBO! Don’t let the kids panic just yet.

Big Bird to HBO!  Don’t let the kids panic just yet.

Groundbreaking series announces plan to move first run programming to HBO.

Bert and Ernie are getting big time exposure as HBO and Sesame Workshop announced a new programming deal, moving the first run episodes of the famous children’s series to HBO for the next five years.

According to mercurynews.com, the two media companies agreed to a five-year plan to allow HBO and its family of programming, including HBO GO and HBO on Demand, to run new episodes on the premium channel first.  PBS will still get to run the series as well, but after a nine-month waiting period.  PBS will continue to run this season’s episodes until the new programs become available.

Sesame Workshop said the deal would allow the non-profit organization to double the output of shows for the coming seasons.  They also said the deal would provide critical funding to allow the show to continue to be aired on PBS, where it has called home for 45 years.

The company says it plans to offer a Muppets spin-off series as well as other children’s programming in the future.  HBO says it has licensed 150 past episodes of the series also.

Saying Sesame Workshop must adapt to the times, Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder of the series said she had “long admired the creative work of HBO and can’t think of a better partner to continue the quality of ‘Sesame Street’s’ programming.”  She added that the way children and their parents access programming has been changing, and that impacts the economics of the kid’s TV business.

The plan is to begin airing new episodes on HBO as early as fall of 2015, with episodes in both English and Spanish.

HBO has also licensed past episodes of “Electric Company” and “Pinky Dinky Doo”, children’s programming that focuses on early literacy for preschoolers.

The move by HBO was likely prompted by other streaming services, like Amazon and Netflix, adding children’s programming to their on demand lineups.

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