Like much of Brooklyn, it looks like Sesame Street is getting gentrified.
On the brink of its 46th season, the seminal children's television program recently left PBS, its home since the show first premiered in 1969, due to lack of funding, and was picked up by HBO in August 2015. However, it looks like Sesame Street's new home isn't the only change afoot for the show: according to an exclusive sneak peek published in the New York Times, the new episodes will feature an "updated" set design, a halved runtime and a re-focus on different characters.
As per the exclusive, Hooper's store has gotten a major overhaul with a "Williamsburg-like renovation," Elmo's new home is a chic brownstone rather than an average New York apartment and Oscar the Grouch now lives in a recycling bin instead of a garbage can.
"It is more like things look now," said Carmen Osbahr, a puppeteer who has been on the show since 1991. "When Sesame Street was created, it was kind of more like New York Bronx. Now, Oscar has a recycling can. That is amazing."
Other big changes include a switch on the main characters: instead of focusing on some of the old guard, like Big Bird, Bert and Ernie or Grover, the show will instead mainly follow the ever-popular Elmo and Cookie Monster, and relatively new characters like Abby and Rosita.
Despite the network move, format restructure and the aesthetic changes, the heart of Sesame Street — instilling universal values in kids from an early age — still seems to remain the same. Case in point: the theme for the upcoming season is "kindness."
"What is going on in this world today is not very kind, so why not really make kindness part of a curriculum that kids need to practice?" said Sesame Workshop EVP and creative director Brown Johnson in an interview with the New York Times.
Check out NYT's slideshow, which showcases some of the changes on the show, right here.