PBS Chief Says ‘Sesame Street’ HBO Move Could Be ‘Good Thing or a Bad Thing’

TCA 2016: “We will continue to see how it plays out,” Paula Kerger says

PBS CEO Paula Kerger is withholding judgment on the partnership between HBO and “Sesame Street” — for now.

Asked at her TCA executive session panel Monday whether she was concerned about marketing that portrays “Sesame Street” as tied to the HBO brand, Kerger replied, “Well, it is. As far as whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, we will continue to see how it plays out.”

The first episode of the new season of “Sesame Street” premiered Saturday on HBO. In August, HBO announced a deal with Sesame Workshop — the nonprofit educational organization that produces “Sesame Street” — to air the next five seasons of the children’s series on HBO, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and HBO Now.

Under the deal, new “Sesame Street” episodes will become available for PBS to broadcast after a nine-month window.

“I am happy that ‘Sesame’ will continue on public broadcasting, and with the investment by HBO there will be the opportunity for more episodes,” Kerger said. “But as we look at everything that we’re doing for kids, ‘Sesame Street’ is just one piece. It’s an important piece, because they’ve been part of our history for so many years.”

Kerger added that PBS is “very focused on making sure that we’re reaching all children — children that have access to television over the air.”