Sesame Street doesn’t need PBS anymore

A day after PBS announced it would trim Sesame Street to a half hour, Sesame Workshop and HBO delivered a bombshell today — Sesame Street will move to HBO.

The cable channel will produce more episodes and expand the Sesame Street content.

Meanwhile, PBS will air reruns of past shows, and will be allowed to carry the new ones, nine months after they air on HBO.

Question: If the private market is now capable of producing quality programming, why do we need a PBS?

A spokesman had an answer ready when the New York Times asked.

“Sesame Workshop’s new partnership does not change the fundamental role PBS and stations play in the lives of families,” Anne Bentley, a PBS spokeswoman, said in a statement, noting that PBS stations reach more children ages 2 to 5, more mothers of children under 6 and more low-income children than any children’s TV network, according to Nielsen.

The significance of the move, however, can’t be downplayed. PBS is Sesame Street, as we found out in the last presidential election.

There’s a downside for kids here. They or their parents may have a hard time getting to Sesame Street.

Now that big money is involved, Sesame Street is removing episodes from Amazon and Netflix.

As one public TV station exec said yesterday, “it’s always about the money.”