Why Sesame Street’s Move to HBO Is Both Great and Extremely Depressing
Though it receives little in the way of taxpayer money, one could almost think of Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop as a modern-day Works Progress Administration (WPA), enlisting filmmakers, writers, actors, musicians, songwriters, and other artists to build a creative public utility. And it really was a utility, nearly as ubiquitous as electricity or public schools. In 1978, 95 percent of households in East Harlem and Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy with children between the ages of two and five watched Sesame Street. That figure was slightly higher across Washington, D.C.; nationwide it held at 80 percent even. By 1979, after a decade on the air, nine million American children under the age of six were watching it daily.