Fans Slam Decision to Overhaul "Sesame Street": "Another Classic Destroyed"
The children's series will have a different structure when season 56 premieres in 2025.
Sesame Street has been around since 1969, meaning that several generations have grown up on the educational series by now. And it seems that some who were raised by the iconic show are not happy to hear that it's being "reimagined" for its next season—Season 56. On Monday, Oct. 30, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that, when Sesame Street returns in 2025, the format of the show will have been overhauled, as it abandons the "magazine-style" structure fans have come to expect. Viewers took to social media to slam the announcement, many complaining that classics like Sesame Street should be left alone. Read on to find out how the series is changing and why some audiences are up in arms about it.
The major change producers have put in place is that, instead of featuring more short segments, Sesame Street will now consist of just three parts: two longer narrative-driven sections with an animated section in between. The show shifted already went from being an hour long to 30 minutes in 2016, and it will remain a half-hour runtime. In the new structure, the two narrative segments will be 11 minutes each, while the animated segment will be about five.
Kay Wilson Stallings, executive vice president and chief creative development and production officer for Sesame Workshop, told The Hollywood Reporter that the "reimagining" of the show is based on research into how children take in narrative stories.
"Both the A story and the B story will come together in some way to really help us with whatever curricular focus that we're trying to have, what lesson we're trying to make," Wilson Stallings explained. "Kids love a little bit of peril, they love having emotional stakes, and in nine minutes, it's kind of hard to really dive into those areas really effectively. And so, by opening up these segments and making them longer, it's going to give us an opportunity to really serve up what we know from research, what we know from across the industry, what we know from our curriculum and education experts, what we know kids are looking for."
The animated portion of the show, titled Tales from 123, "for the very first time will give viewers an opportunity to go inside 123 Sesame Street, which is probably the most famous apartment building in the world," Wilson Stallings said. "When we do these segments, it doesn't necessarily link into the A story or the B story, we just want something that feels very characterful, that has a lot of humor, that really kind of highlights the best components of who our characters are."
In addition to the new format, other changes for Season 56 include a signature song in each episode and characters speaking directly to the camera to address the children watching the show.
On X (formerly Twitter), some fans denounced the announced changes. "Oh, no. This never ends well," one person posted in response to the THR story. Another wrote, "WHAT?! The magazine format is LEGENDARY!" Someone pleaded, "oh please do not get rid of the Letter of the Day and Number of the Day segments, they are so valuable!" Another fan shared, "Oh for the love of god, can they leave anything alone? It's one thing that hasn't broke in 54 years. Don't try to fix it!" "Another classic destroyed," reads an X post. Another social media user referenced the show with their comment: "This update brought to you by the letters 'U' and 'M.'"
Amongst the angry and disappointed comments are also jokes about the show becoming more narrative-focused. For example: "Sesame Street is getting serialized. If your child misses out on any key episodes, they will be illiterate."
Wilson Stallings explained to The Hollywood Reporter that the update to the show is inspired by 93-year-old Sesame Street co-creator Joan Ganz Cooney.
"She always talked about Sesame Street as being like an experiment," Wilson Stallings said. "And she said that regularly we need to look at the creative, look at who kids are, look at what they are interested in, look at what we're trying to instill in terms of an educational curriculum, pull all that together and on a regular basis assess Sesame Street and see where we need to make tweaks and where we need to make some enhancements to further evolve it."
At least one fan is hopeful: "Those are terribly scary words," an X user wrote in response to the news. "But I trust @sesamestreet and @SesameWorkshop to make good decisions, just as they teach us all to do."
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