The venerable children’s program “Sesame Street” is about to get an update, which will be broadcast in a half-hour format instead of the show's usual hourlong episodes, reports Elizabeth Jensen in The New York Times. The hour version of the show will continue to air.
The decision is “a nod to the realities of increased mobile and online viewing and the heightened competition for preschool viewers,” Jensen writes.
The shorter version will air in PBS’s afternoon lineup starting Sept. 1, with some half-hour episodes also airing on the PBS website, its mobile app and its Roku channel. “It will be the first time that PBS has had the rights to stream more than clips of the show,” the article notes.
Because the hourlong show will continue to air in the morning, the new show effectively adds 50 percent more air time for “Sesame Street” on PBS. It also comes as its PBS Kids Video app has increased in usage with children, while broadcast ratings for PBS's children’s shows have dipped, Jensen adds.
Adding a half-hour “is a great opportunity to expand its footprint,” said Lesli Rotenberg, PBS’s general manager of children’s programming.
"The half-hour 'Sesame Street' will be a condensed version of the traditional show, with a 'Street Story,' 'Word on the Street' and letter and number 'dance breaks,' but no features like 'Elmo the Musical' or 'Abby’s Flying Fairy School,'" the report adds.