‘Sesame Street’ Writers Ratify 5-Year Contract Deal

Union members passed a tentative agreement reached last month, which kept them from going on strike

"Sesame Street" (PBS, PBS Kids)
"Sesame Street" (PBS, PBS Kids)

Writers at the iconic PBS children’s series “Sesame Street” have ratified a five-year contract deal with the show’s production company. The writers had authorized a strike and would have been set to hit the picket lines if they hadn’t reached a deal before their contract expired last month, with 100% of the members voting in support of strike authorization.

“Congratulations to our Sesame Workshop writers, who won groundbreaking protections that will allow them to continue creating children’s media,” Writers Guild of America East President Lisa Takeuchi Cullen said in a statement. “Make no mistake — these historic gains mark an important step in organizing animation. Writing for children’s media and animation isn’t easier than other forms of screenwriting, and those workers deserve the same protections.”

As part of the deal, the WGA will have jurisdiction over all Sesame Workshop-produced programs made for Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) streaming platforms, content made for educational outreach, animated programs and short-form new media segments on YouTube, TikTok and those produced for its Social Impact efforts. 

The contract also provides what the union describes as meaningful economic gains, along with other union protections. This marks the first time the WGA will cover Sesame Workshop’s work in animation and new media. The deal also includes improved new media residuals and increased minimum script fees.

Sesame Workshop writers will now be protected by the same AI guidelines the WGA won in the 2023 film and TV screenwriters Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA). All minimum rates will increase on the same date and percentage as the MBA (3.5% retroactive to May 2, 2024; 3% on May 2, 2025; May 2, 2026–2028 to follow 2026 MBA), and the company will pay pension, health and paid parental leave contributions in accordance with that agreement. 

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