After 50-Plus Years, ‘Sesame Street‘ Is Switching Up Its Format

The changes are due in 2025, when the show enters its 56th season.
Yes, Bert and Ernie still have a job.
Yes, Bert and Ernie still have a job. / Tristar Media/GettyImages

There may finally be time to delve deeper into the motivations of Oscar the Grouch. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the long-running children’s show Sesame Street will return for a 56th season in 2025 having undergone an extensive makeover—one that favors more episodic storytelling than the classic magazine style it has used since its inception in 1969.

In practice, that means the 30-minute show will move away from a series of short segments to a format that better resembles traditional television series. There will be two segments of roughly 11 minutes each, with a new animated sequence coming in between. The live-action portions could focus on an ‘A’ and ‘B’ story, which might converge.

Instead of a brief spot featuring Elmo, for example, the episode might focus more on his current situation across both halves of the show, with another storyline layered in.

“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,” Kay Wilson Stallings, the executive vice president and chief creative development and production officer of Sesame Workshop, told THR. “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.”

The new animated segment, titled Tales From 123, will examine the lives of the apartment complex residents. The cartoon may eventually spin off into its own series depending on audience response.

The changes come as Sesame Street nears the end of its deal with Warner Bros. Discovery, which distributes the program via its Max (formerly HBO Max) app.