The content removal at HBO Max is still ongoing. Following yesterday’s culling of original material and Cartoon Network series, including Summer Camp Island, Infinity Train, and Generation, the streaming service has now reduced the number of Sesame Street episodes available.
Nearly 200 long-running children’s program episodes have been removed, presumably as part of Warner Bros.
Discovery’s continued effort to save money on residuals. It is intended to facilitate the merger of HBO Max and Discovery+, with the latter shedding some titles to finalize the transaction.
Previously, HBO Max provided 650 episodes of the respective series. Following the purge, the total number of episodes from the first 38 seasons of the show has been reduced to 456. The more recent episodes, beginning with Season 39, are still accessible in their entirety.
The remaining 29 iconic episodes include selections from Seasons 1, 5, and 7. Except for the previously-canceled Not So Late Show with Elmo, spin-offs and side content, such as Sesame Street Mechanic Builders, The Magical Wand Chase, and all seven seasons of My Sesame Street Friends, are still available on HBO Max.
In 2015, HBO reached an agreement with Sesame Workshop ensuring that the premium channel would have the first opportunity to air each new episode before PBS. It also granted their streaming platform unique access to the whole repertoire, ensuring additional revenue for Sesame Street in the long run and ensuring that the show will continue to be enjoyed by a new generation.
The removal of episodes occurred with minimal forewarning, with HBO indicating that some of the series’ specials may be withdrawn. HBO and Sesame Workshop have not yet issued an official comment.
The choice to eliminate so many animated and scripted shows was already unpopular among fans and producers. Still, the decision to eliminate the great majority of classic Sesame Street episodes was highly criticized.
For many, this decision contradicts Sesame Street’s guiding principle that all children should have access to the educational program. In addition to preparing children for school, the series teaches them how to be socially competent, sympathetic, and tolerant of others while dealing with the best and worst life has to offer.
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It is the most recent of a series of unpopular decisions that began with the cancellation of Batgirl. During this time, HBO has implemented several cost-cutting measures, typically involving the discreet cancellation of shows, as was the case with Camping, Vinyl, and Mrs. Fletcher, among others.