PBS Adding a Shorter Sesame Street

Sesame Street PBS

In response to the way kiddies now consume content on digital devices — and to offer said audience more viewing options — PBS is developing a streamlined, half-hour edition of Sesame Street.

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As first reported by the New York Times, starting Sept. 1 PBS will add to its afternoon line-up a 30-minute edit of that morning’s hour-long Sesame Street, keeping elements such as “Word on the Street” and letter- and number-themed “dance breaks,” while excising the lengthier, more-serialized segments (e.g. “Abby’s Flying Fairy School”).

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As PBS execs explained to the Times, the 60-minute Sesame Street “didn’t lend itself” well to mobile viewing, while the additional, half-hour broadcast will allow the 45-year-old series to “expand its footprint” and offer preschoolers “a great alternative” in afternoon TV.

I close with a fun fact nestled in PBS’ official press release: “A longitudinal study by the University of Kansas found that American children who frequently viewed Sesame Street as preschoolers had high-school grade point averages that were almost 16 percent higher than those who did not watch.”

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  1. AT says:

    I think this is a great idea. We limit our daughter’s tv viewing to no more than 30 minutes a few times a week. That meant we had to turn Sesame Street off halfway through, which really upset her. Luckily with DVRs now she could watch the other half another time. But I think organizing the show as 30 minutes is a great idea.

  2. ME says:

    I’d say sesame street had been due to make a change like this for a while now. I am glad that they are doing it since I feel like it is still one of the most educational shows for kids on television. My kids watch some of the segments but don’t sit for the whole thing. Attention spans have shortened considerably since the late 70s when I was a kid.

    • Ally Oop says:

      I agree. My kids won’t usually sit for the whole thing either. There’s so many other shows on Netflix (which has an excellent kids selection) and my kids prefer different. My 3-year-old adores Super Why, Blues Clues and Dora. My soon-to-be-5-year-old frustratingly veers from educational shows for Sophia the First, Lalaloopsie and Casper’s Scare School. My kids tend to watch more cartoons when I am on my night shift rotation as when I get off my 12-hour night shift at 7am my husband goes to work for 8am and the kids are stuck with a zombie mom until the babysitter picks them up at 12 so I can go to bed.

  3. Karen MT says:

    I wish they’d get rid of the longer segments on the hour-long version, and show more clips and the neighborhood. But I’ll take what I can get.

  4. JLK says:

    Well that’s not going to fly around here. When my daughter asks to watch Sesame Street, all she wants to see is Abby’s Flying Fairy School and Elmo. I can’t get her to watch the rest of it to save my life unless Abby or Elmo are featured prominently. Sometimes, she’ll decide she’s in the mood for Cookie Monster, Bert & Ernie or Grover, but most of the time, she tunes out the show and plays with her legos or draws or something until Abby or Elmo come on. I guess it’s good that she isn’t just sitting there transfixed like her older sister used to, but it’s still frustrating trying to watch it with her.

  5. TV Gord says:

    It’s interesting that the show that has been blamed for decades for reducing the attention-span of children is now taking it to a whole new level! :-D