HBO, like your aged Buick, isn’t just for adults anymore. The cable channel known for trailblazing R-rated fare is looking to pick up G-rated viewers via a five-year deal with Sesame Workshop.

"Sesame Street" characters. Image via
“Sesame Street” characters. Image via
So Congress won’t eventually shoot down Big Bird as people like Mitt Romney have threatened — by defunding public television.

“When we had an opportunity to put an iconic show like ‘Sesame Street’ on the network, we jumped on it,” HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler told The Wall Street Journal.

Starting this fall, HBO will air new episodes of the children’s series nine months before PBS does. The deal lets Sesame Workshop up its output of yearly episodes from 18 to 35.

Sesame Workshop also agreed to make a muppet-based “Sesame Street” spinoff and another educational series for the pay-TV outlet and its online platforms HBO Now and HBO Go. Those could appear on PBS as well.

Jeff Dunn, chief executive of Sesame Workshop, said two-thirds of children now first experience the show on video-on-demand and streaming services.

“It quickly became clear to me that the economics of the organization needed to change,” Dunn was quoted as saying as Sesame Workshop bled money. “If this is where the children are, we have to recognize that shift and have more than just a home on PBS.”

But lest you worry that Elmo will become a “Game of Thrones” character, Sesame Workshop will retain all editorial control over the content of “Sesame Street” and its other shows.

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