Say it isn’t so, Elmo. Please say it isn’t so.


I hear that you and the gang recently moved away from PBS to bigger and shinier digs at HBO. Sesame Street lived on Public Broadcasting for the last forty-six years, the majority of my life. In fact, I was six months old when you started out, I am part of the first wave of human beings who became better people, thanks to the lessons you cultivated. You taught me how to read, share and think. I owe you big props for that, I do, but watching you become privatized is a lot like how it felt when the home I grew up in was put up for sale.

I thought you would always be there, right where I left you.

My kids grew up watching Sesame Street in between episodes of Clifford the Big Red Dog and Arthur. As a young mom, those hours were sometimes the only bit of quiet that I could coax out of the day and in turn your lessons were carried along by another generation. I felt good about that.

HBO’s new episodes debuted  and those new 30 minute episodes will eventually find their way to the airways on PBS, later this fall. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that produces the show, has been chugging along at a deficit after sales of children’s DVD’s and toys that bear the images of the beloved show have dropped over the last five years. Privatization, as it often is packaged, is supposed to be Sesame Street’s saving grace. Forgive me if I sound like the kid having a tantrum when I say this isn’t good enough. These are not the values that this show taught, the sheer goodness of showing what can happen when people work together. Sesame Workshop didn’t give the public a chance to save it, before it was sold to the highest bidder.

“I am so excited for kids to explore our updated neighborhood and discover where their favorite characters live,” said Carol-Lynn Parente, Executive Producer, Sesame Street. “Sesame Street has always been the ideal play date for preschoolers; now that play date is focused on topics and themes that are very engaging to kids, with our signature educational messages embedded into laughter and music.”

What they aren’t talking about is how the play date’s been moved to a gated community and millions of kids aren’t going to be invited through the front gate.

The new season will offer 35 half hour episodes. A traditional season of Sesame Street is 24 one hour episodes.

I wonder what the Count would say about that.