When the news broke back in August that HBO had picked up the rights to air new Sesame Street episodes, lots of people on the internet made snarky jokes about the show being changed to fit HBO’s traditionally “adult” reputation. Would Cookie Monster develop an obsession with catching the so-called Yellow King? Would The Count start hanging out with Anna Paquin? Would Elmo move to King’s Landing and start killing small animals with a crossbow?
All of those sarcastic concerns turned out to be right on the money, as Variety is reporting that Sesame Street will actually be going through some big changes in its journey to premium cable. Okay, so it won’t suddenly become intensely violent or include graphic sex scenes. But it will have an updated set, “new preschool-relevant themes,” new music at the beginning and end of each episode, a new cast member, and a new Cookie Monster-centric segment called “Smart Cookies.”
The new cast member is named Nina and will be played by Suki Lopez; Variety describes her as “a young, bilingual, Hispanic woman” who is also “witty, compassionate, and charismatic.” She’ll also be a human, which is probably an important distinction to make on a show with this many Muppets. “Smart Cookies” will reportedly be about Cookie Monster putting together a team of “crime-fighting cookie friends” who are trying to defeat a villain called The Crumb. Of course, that premise is just an easy “COOKIE IS FLAT CIRCLE” joke away from being a True Detective joke anyway.
The new Sesame Street will premiere on HBO on January 16, with the episodes hitting PBS a few months later.