News About Sesame Street

August 13, 2015 Wisconsin Public Television Leave a Comment

Hello friends-

This morning you might have seen media coverage about an announcement from Sesame Workshop and HBO that they have entered into a contract that will add HBO as a new additional home to Sesame Street. We wanted to get in touch directly with our friends to share this news and what it means to all of us in Wisconsin.

It is essential to note that Sesame Street will continue to be available on PBS stations including Wisconsin Public Television (WPT). With its significant infusion of funding to Sesame Workshop, HBO will be afforded the first “broadcast window” with programs becoming available to PBS stations some nine months later. According to HBO and Sesame Workshop, this deal will allow the show’s producers to create twice as many new programs each year as they were previously able to.

WPT will continue to broadcast Sesame Street, which will remain a critical component of our broad-based and well-recognized educational service to families and young children. WPT will also continue to broadcast Sesame Street episodes between now and when the new episodes are available. Our audiences will continue to be well served by the research-based educational lessons that have always marked Sesame Street on-air and online along with a full lineup of critically acclaimed early childhood and K-12 education programs loved by children and parents.

Our commitment and our service to the best and most universally accessible educational children’s programming remains unchanged.

We know people will have a variety of questions in the wake of Sesame Workshop’s decision to enter into this agreement with HBO. Below are a few points that we hope will help.

PBS and WPT remain committed to Sesame Street, and Sesame Street is committed to retaining its historic relationship with PBS by assuring that all programs will be available for free broadcast on public television, and Sesame Street content will be available for online viewing via WPT’s web services and, in addition to HBO.

Through Wisconsin Public Television, Sesame Street will continue to be available to families in a trusted environment of educational programs for children. That means that families that do not subscribe to HBO, or who do not have cable or high speed internet access, will continue to be able to enjoy the benefits of this groundbreaking public TV show on Wisconsin Public Television.

There will be no interruption in kids’ access to Sesame Street on WPT, although new episodes of Sesame Street will be delayed and families will see some re-runs and “best of segments” during HBO’s exclusive window.

PBS and WPT will continue to provide high quality, educational and emotionally nurturing children’s programming. As always, our programs will be accompanied by well-researched, proven and tested educational materials to help parents, teachers and caregivers maximize the educational and emotional development of our America’s children.

PBS and WPT continue to develop and deliver new children’s programs to viewers everywhere that always focus on core educational tenets within an entertaining format, including the recent hit Peg + Cat, that teaches math skills to preschoolers; the popular Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which infuses the early life skills and lessons of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood into an animated series beloved by young kids; and the new science-based Nature Cat and Ready Jet Go, which will premiere later this year.

WPT has a long history of serving audiences as widely as possible. We routinely make our programs available to viewers on other television stations. In the 1980s, WPT’s kids program Get Real was given to Wisconsin’s commercial television stations free of charge for wider distribution. Our coverage of the State of the State and biennial budget addresses, along with other programs are offered free to other broadcasters to greater serve our viewers.

While we are disappointed that Sesame Street is unable to continue producing programs exclusively for non-commercial public service broadcasting, we are proud that our long relationship with a program that has enhanced our role as the nation’s largest classroom will continue – and that Sesame Street‘s producers were insistent that, despite the new relationship, this important educational content must be made available freely through public television to every family and child who will benefit from its important early childhood lessons.

We are hopeful that this relationship will result in even more of the best that Sesame Street can offer being available to every child in Wisconsin, regardless of ability to pay for its service. That universal access is what we strive for in our work everyday and you have our promise that we will continue to do that.

If you have any questions or comments about this news, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or call us at 800-422-9707.

While the environment for public television shifts with today’s news, our commitment to non-commercial educational service will not change. Thank you for your ongoing support. And, thanks for watching!

Jon Miskowski
Director of Television
Wisconsin Public Television

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