Missing ‘Sesame Street’ episodes proceed HBO Max shakeup

It’s a not-so-sunny day for “Sesame Street” as Warner Bros. Discovery continues to shake issues up at HBO Max.

Friday, the media large shocked and angered followers of “Sesame Street” by eradicating almost 200 episodes of the seminal kids’s collection from the streaming platform. The transfer comes on the heels of mass layoffs at HBO and HBO Max, amongst different efforts by the merging firm to rebrand and minimize prices.

In response to Selection, the variety of “Sesame Street” episodes out there to stream on HBO Max shrunk on Friday from 650 to 456. Many of the deleted episodes hailed from the primary 40 years of the present, which has been educating younger kids for 52 seasons and counting since 1969.

At press time, solely “Sesame Street” installments from seasons 39 by 52 — in addition to choose episodes from seasons 1, 5 and seven — had been viewable on the streaming service. The 53rd season of the beloved collection is ready to premiere on HBO Max this fall.

“ ‘Sesame Street’ is and has always been an important part of television culture and a crown jewel of our preschool offering,” an HBO Max spokesperson stated in a press release to Selection. “We are committed to continuing to bring ‘Sesame Street’ into families’ homes.” (WarnerMedia didn’t instantly reply Sunday to The Occasions’ request for remark.)

Along with the flagship program, a number of “Sesame Street” specials and spinoff collection — from “Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Celebration” to “My Sesame Street Friends” — stay on HBO Max. Extra “Sesame Street” content material might be discovered on PBS Youngsters and the Sesame Street YouTube channel.

HBO and subsequently HBO Max have been the unique, first-run dwelling of “Sesame Street” since 2015, when the premium channel inked its first five-year cope with Sesame Workshop, which produces the youngsters’s collection. That deal was prolonged one other 5 years in a 2019 settlement to maneuver “Sesame Street” from HBO to HBO Max. The partnership has ignited criticism from those that view the pact as antithetical to the spirt of public kids’s tv.

In current weeks, the streamer has come underneath further scrutiny as Warner Bros. Discovery has made a collection of controversial content material and staffing cuts main as much as the 2023 launch of a brand new streaming service combining HBO Max and Discovery+.

Among the many first HBO Max casualties of the summer time had been the acclaimed sitcom “Gordita Chronicles,” which received canceled after one season, and the extremely anticipated DC movie “Batgirl,” which had already been filmed and was slated to debut completely on the platform. Warner Bros. Discovery has additionally quietly scrubbed a variety of current titles — together with a number of HBO Max unique films and animated collection — from the streaming service.

By mid-August, the media conglomerate had laid off about 70 individuals — or 14% of — the staff overseen by HBO and HBO Max chief content material officer Casey Bloys. Extra layoffs had been anticipated at CNN, TBS, Turner Traditional Motion pictures and numerous Discovery actuality channels after Warner Bros. Discovery Chief Govt David Zaslav promised Wall Street $3 billion in value financial savings from the merger.

On Thursday, CNN pulled the plug on “Reliable Sources,” a revered media criticism program hosted by senior media correspondent Brian Stelter. The collection aired its remaining episode Sunday.