An era is coming to an end as a children’s show that has been an institution of television since the late 1960s is set to undergo a big change.
Current reports that PBS is discontinuing the one-hour version of “Sesame Street” starting this fall. The broadcasting service made the announcement to its stations Wednesday.
PBS will continue to run new half-hour episodes, which began airing last year. “Sesame Street” originally went on the air in 1969.
In the new schedule, launching Nov. 15, half-hour episodes of “Sesame Street” will air at 10 a.m.
In announcing the decision, PBS Kids and Sesame Workshop said the move was being made “in response to the positive station and viewer feedback to the shorter version introduced last fall.”
Citing Maria Vera, PBS Kids spokesperson, Current notes that the shorter version has had 93% coverage. The half-hour program has been airing weekday afternoons since last September, with the one-hour show running weekday mornings.
“Both versions are doing well in ratings, according to Craig Reed, executive director at public TV audience research company TRAC Media,” Current notes. “Ratings for children’s programs are generally higher in morning timeslots, Reed said. While the half-hour show’s numbers are slightly lower than the hourlong program’s, the shorter version ‘does very well at growing its audience over the lead-in — just what we would expect for a program that is performing at a high level,’ he said.”
On the heels of the announcement, news broke that HBO was picking up “Sesame Street” in a five-year licensing deal, as we are reporting separately.