After spending 45 years as the star of kids' programming on PBS, Big Bird is flying over to a new home on TV this fall, the New York Times reports. Well, maybe not flying—more like awkwardly flapping his wings up and down while he speedwalks into the offices of HBO and walks out with a bunch of money.
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit group that makes Sesame Street, just signed a deal that'll bring the next five seasons of their show to HBO and enable them to produce 35 episodes a year instead of the usual 18.
If you find it sort of odd that the beloved educational children's show is moving from public television to a paid premium channel, you may be cheered by news that nine months after Sesame Street episodes air on HBO and its streaming outlets they'll be available on PBS free of charge.
The deal apparently made financial sense for the show: As Sesame Street generated less and less funding from DVD sales and other forms of licensing—which is how it makes most of its money—it had been forced to cut back on the number of episodes it made for PBS. Now, according to Sesame Workshop head Jeffrey Dunn, the organization will be freed up financially not only to make more Sesame Street, but also to work on new series and spinoffs.
"The partnership is really a great thing for kids," Dunn told the Times. "We're getting revenues we otherwise would not have gotten, and with this we can do even more content for kids."
It's unclear how much money is changing hands in the deal, but we can assume HBO is probably dishing out enough cash to give Count von Count a heart attack. Oscar the Grouch may finally be able to afford to trade in his old, metal trash can for one of those fancy plastic guys.