Sonia Manzano retiring as Maria is not the only big change for the residents of Sesame Street. Big Bird, Cookie Monster and all of their friends will be appearing on HBO as early as later this fall.
According to “The New York Times” Sesame Workshop, the non-profit that produces "Sesame Street," has licensed out the beloved children’s series to air on HBO before airing on PBS for the next five seasons.
In addition, the series will also be roughly doubling its episode production from 18 to 35 per year and is currently working on additional educational programs for children.
As a public television mainstay, “Sesame Street” has in the past not relied on commercials for funding and instead received financial support from such avenues as merchandising and PBS fund drives. In recently years, however, children have relied less and less on PBS to catch the latest episodes of “Sesame Street” and instead have been utilizing streaming and on-demand viewing. As a result, Sesame Workshop has had to cut back on the number of "Sesame Street" episodes produced and shelve other projects.
As part of the deal, HBO has also licensed more than 150 past “Sesame Street” episodes as well as episodes from additional Sesame Workshop titles, including “The Electric Company” and “Pinky Dinky Doo.”