NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- "Sesame Street" is on the move – with plans to team with HBO for the next five seasons.
The program, which has run for a full hour since its debut in 1969, will be cut to a half hour for the new episodes. They will run exclusively on HBO and its related platforms, including HBO GO and HBO On Demand, for nine months.
Afterward, PBS stations will get the episodes for free, but to rerun nine months later. There won't be any interruption for ``Sesame Street'' on PBS, with the current season airing until new shows become available.
``Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning public-private partnership model,'' Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop's chief executive officer, said in a news release. He said it provides his organization with ``critical funding'' to continue producing the show and airing it on PBS, its home for 45 years.
Besides ``Sesame Street,'' the workshop will make a spinoff series involving the "Sesame Street" Muppets, and a new original educational series for children. HBO said it also has licensed more than 150 past episodes of ``Sesame Street.''
The new episodes will begin airing as early as late this fall. HBO will have the rights to air the episodes in both English and Spanish, the release said.
Joan Ganz Cooney, who created the series along with psychologist and educator Lloyd Morrisett, said she has ``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 noted there have been dramatic changes in the way children consume video and the economics of the kids' TV business, and said Sesame Workshop must ``adapt to the times.''
The move by HBO reflects another reality: Fledgling TV competitors such as Amazon and Netflix are making their own forays into children's programming as part of their streaming services.
In addition to Sesame Street, HBO will also license about 50 past episodes of ``Pinky Dinky Doo,'' an animated series for preschoolers with a focus on early literacy, and the latter-day version of ``The Electric Company,'' which launched in 2009 carrying on the name of the classic 1970s program focused on reading skills.
"Sesame Street" has been shot in New York since its debut -- most recently at the Kaufman Astoria Studios complex in Astoria, Queens.
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