In a programming move that comes somewhat out of left field (as well as a very confusing intersection of your childhood TV-viewing habits), Sesame Workshop has announced a five-year partnership with HBO, in which episodes of Sesame Street will premiere on the network and its associated streaming services, then become available to long-term home PBS for free after nine months. Yes, Sesame Street will now air first on HBO -- the HBO that currently airs Game of Thrones, True Detective, and is in the process of making a dramatic series about twin porn moguls played by James Franco.
Let's ignore, for a moment, all of the easy jokes we could make about, say, Big Bird being The Yellow King, crossovers with The Wire, or anything related to Jon Snow -- at first glance, this seems like a really, really good idea. For all that its current lineup is kind of... well... tepid (sorry, Ballers), HBO has made quite a number of exciting moves to consolidate and fund talented people in the last few months -- snatching Bill Simmons from ESPN, maybe making a Deadwood movie (which, okay, sure, whatever), and now inking this deal with Sesame Workshop.
And the network seems likely to use its preexisting clout to figure out ways it can function as kind of like a streaming service, but better. ("It's not Netflix, it's HBO" you could imagine executives saying.) Think of it like Last Week Tonight -- how many people watch full episodes when they air? Not that many people compared to the numbers actually going back and watching the clips online, but HBO's backing, and association with the show, allow it to also dole out lots of web-specific stuff, and keep making a funny and relevant show. Thank your local HBO subscriber, and then politely ask them if you can hop on their HBOGo account.
Okay, now you can go back to your "LOL, what if Looking but with Bert and Ernie" jokes.