You’ll have to pay to play on Sesame Street

Sesame Street — the popular children’s show that has aired on public television for 45 years — is moving to premium cable.

A five-year deal with HBO means new episodes of Sesame Street will air first on the cable network. PBS viewers will be able to see the new episodes nine months after they air on HBO, according a New York Times story.

So all isn't lost. Kids without the premium cable channel in their homes will eventually be able to see the new episodes and they will still be able to watch newly edited episodes from past seasons through the fall on PBS. Streaming of older episodes will also continue on

Naturally, viewers have been sounding off on social media. There are those who say Sesame Workshop is selling out for big money with HBO. Others say this is the beginning of the end for PBS programming as other shows are sure to make similar deals. And there are those who are concerned that the children for whom the show was initially designed will ultimately lose out.

Sesame Workshop reportedly lost $11 million last year, according to the article, so this was clearly a business decision. As in, Sesame Street would not longer be in business if they hadn’t made this particular decision. Viewers who take the long view tend to agree with Sesame Workshop’s choice.

Moving to HBO means Sesame Street will be able to air 35 episodes instead of 18 episodes per year. But still, it sort of stinks that you have to pay for HBO to see the new Sesame Street episodes when they first come out.

Fortunately, in other puppet news, the Muppets are coming back to network TV. It doesn’t help the Sesame Street crowd who are most likely to be asleep during the 8 p.m. airtime, but there will still be puppets on free television!

See here for a promo of the new Muppets show.

The show airs Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. on ABC.