Sesame Street got its start at the height of the civil rights movement and the war on poverty, in answer to a simple but powerful question: could television help prepare less advantaged children for school?
In 1969, the show’s founders tapped researchers, entertainers, and other visionaries to create a “street” like no other, where colourful monsters, humans, and even grouches lived side by side. Today, Sesame Workshop – the nonprofit organisation behind the iconic show, which has grown to reach kids and families in more than 150 countries and 70 languages – is proud to announce the launch of Sesame Street’s landmark 50th season in Australia.
The new season begins with Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, a star-studded special that offers a sweeping look at 50 years on the Street. Hosted by Joseph Gordon Levitt, the special reimagines classic segments and songs like “People in Your Neighborhood” and “It’s Not Easy Being Green” as the Sesame Street friends get ready for a big celebration.
Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Celebration includes cameos from rarely-seen characters like Roosevelt Franklin and Kermit the Frog, and visits from celebrity guests Whoopi Goldberg, Patti LaBelle, Elvis Costello, Meghan Trainor, Sterling K. Brown, Norah Jones, Nile Rodgers, and Itzhak Perlman. Nearly every human cast member returns including Bob McGrath (Bob), Sonia Manzano (Maria), Emilio Delgado (Luis), Loretta Long (Susan), Roscoe Orman (Gordon), and Linda Bove (Linda) and legendary puppeteers Fran Brill and the late Caroll Spinney also appear in the special.
It will air in Australia for the first time on ABC Kids on Saturday 11th July at 9.30am, and will also be available on ABC iview and the ABC Kids app.
The first episode of the 50th Season will then premiere on Wednesday 15th July at 9.30am on ABC Kids. The season’s celebrity guests include: Chrissy Teigen; musicians Charlie Puth, Dave Grohl, and Maren Morris; ballet dancer Misty Copeland; and comedian Michael Che. The season also introduces “Big Bird’s Road Trip,” a special segment that tours the United States and beyond to find out what kids love about where they live. In each instalment, Big Bird meets new friends – in person or via video chat – and learns all about their families, interests, and neighbourhoods.
“As we mark our 50th season, we want to remind families everywhere of the timeless lessons Sesame Street has always taught,” said Steve Youngwood, President of Media & Education and Chief Operating Officer of Sesame Workshop. “Everyone, no matter where they are from, is equally deserving of respect, opportunity, and joy.”Steve Youngwood
Later in the season, a new neighbour will come to Sesame Street. Played by Violet Tinnirello, 8-year-old Charlotte – her friends call her “Charlie” – is the first child to join the Sesame Street cast in more than 20 years. Charlie moves to the neighbourhood with her family, bringing viewers along for the ride as she explores her new home for the first time.
“We can’t wait to share this season with Australian families and fans of all ages,” said Ben Lehmann, Executive Producer of Sesame Street. “Even as we take time to look back and honour our history, we keep innovating to bring today’s preschool kids something that’s tailored just for them – holding on to all the fundamentals that make Sesame Street so magical.”Ben Lehmann
Season 50’s curriculum focus – “Oops and Aha!: Embracing the Power of Possibilities” –addresses a pervasive issue facing young children. “Today’s preschool kids are under an unprecedented amount of stress and pressure to meet certain academic and social-emotional benchmarks, often before they’re developmentally ready,” said Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, Sesame Workshop’s Senior Vice President, Curriculum and Content. “That result-oriented mindset can make kids afraid to take even the safest risks – never trying to pour their own milk for fear of spilling it.” Fortunately, caring adults can help relieve that pressure by giving kids room to make mistakes and tools to persevere afterwards. In one episode, for example, Abby Cadabby’s brother Rudy feels upset when he “ruins” a drawing; Alan encourages him to keep trying, and Rudy eventually creates a new picture inspired by his mistake. By modeling positive thinking, self-confidence, and perseverance, this season offers children – and parents! – a fun way to practice essential self-regulation strategies and creative thinking skills.Dr. Rosemarie Truglio
Sesame Street content continues to be available via ABC Kids each weekday morning at 9.30am. The episodes are also available any time on ABC iview and the ABC Kids app.