HBO Max Quietly Removes 200 Episodes of ‘Sesame Street’

It’s the latest programming to be taken off the streamer, alongside shows like “Genera+ion” and other Warner Bros. films

Sesame Street
Sesame Street

HBO Max has quietly removed 200 episodes of “Sesame Street” from its catalogue. It’s the latest disappearing act of programming from the streamer, which just yesterday saw the removal of 20 originals and 36 titles overall.

Removing episodes of “Sesame Street” and other programs means that HBO Max no longer has to pay the related licensing fees to host them on its platform. HBO Max previously housed about 650 “Sesame Street” episodes, including from Seasons 2 through 4. But as of Friday morning, only 456 episodes remain, including all episodes from Seasons 1, 5 and 7 and 39 through 52. On Wednesday, the streamer announced that “select” “Sesame Street” specials would be leaving HBO Max this week.

The streamer has never hosted all of the show’s more than 600 episodes on its platform before at the same time, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap. Accordingly, a selection was removed from HBO Max to focus on the best of both historic and current episodes. Season 53 of “Sesame Street” will stream on Cartoonito on HBO Max this fall, as well as additional episodes of the new Sesame Workshop show, “Sesame Street Mecha Builders.” Select “Sesame Street” episodes continue to be available on PBS Kids and the show’s YouTube.

“‘Sesame Street’ is and has always been an important part of television culture and a crown jewel of our preschool offering,” an HBO Max spokesperson told TheWrap. “We are committed to continuing to bring ‘Sesame Street’ into families’ homes, including the newest season premiering this fall and the nearly 400 episodes of the most current and historic seasons that remain on Cartoonito on HBO Max.”

Earlier in August, HBO Max removed six film titles and also announced that it would no longer be releasing DC’s mostly completed “Batgirl” or the animated “Scoob! Holiday Haunt.” The strategy is informed by parent company Warner Bros. Discovery’s plans to combine HBO Max and Discovery+ next summer, as well as efforts to narrow down its $3 billion debt.

“As we work toward bringing our content catalogs together under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and discovery+,” HBO Max said in a statement Wednesday. “That will include the removal of some content from both platforms.”

The news also comes four days after the streamer announced the layoff of 70 staffers, including EVPs and SVPs (roughly 14% of staff), and eliminated four departments: HBO Max Originals Nonfiction and Live Action, International Originals, Casting and Content Acquisitions.

“Unfortunately, the environment in which we operate is changing rapidly, and it is up to us to continue to refine our model to chart a course for long term success,” head content officer Casey Bloys wrote in a memo obtained by TheWrap. “As you heard from David Zaslav during our last earnings call, producing top-tier HBO/Max scripted content is crucial to WBD’s future. Part of this process involves an honest assessment of what we need moving forward. To best align our strengths and strategy with the challenges and opportunities ahead, I am announcing the following organizational changes.”

Variety first reported the news.