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Press Release

PTC Calls on HBO to Air First-Run Sesame Street Episodes for Free

By: Kelly Oliver

Release Date: 8/13/2015

LOS ANGELES (August 13, 2015) – The Parents Television Council responded to the news that new episodes of Sesame Street will be aired on the premium cable network HBO.

“In order to watch original episodes of the most iconic children’s program in television history, parents must now fork out $180 per year for the most sexually-explicit and most graphically-violent television network in America. I cannot imagine a greater juxtaposition than this one. Plus, this move will create a two-caste system between the families able to afford HBO and those who cannot, and given the positive educational value of Sesame Street , that’s very troubling,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“Many families have eschewed premium cable networks – like HBO, Showtime and Cinemax – because of the explicit content. But now they must subscribe to the very content they abhor in order to get original airings of Sesame Street for their children.

“HBO needs subscriber growth, and this will likely help them to get it. And Sesame Workshop needs a dependable source of increased funding, and this will likely help them to get it. I understand and appreciate the tremendous economic pressure facing the production community – especially independent producers. But this arrangement puts an unfair burden on families.

“I am publicly calling on HBO to allow non-subscriber families to view original Sesame Street episodes for free. The network is trying to spin some sort of public interest angle into this announcement, so let’s extend that argument to its conclusion: HBO should air the original Sesame Street episodes on their network for free -- without forcing families who financially cannot afford HBO to pay for it, and without forcing families who morally cannot afford to bring HBO’s explicit content into their homes to do so. They can do it if they want to, so I’m asking.”

The Parents Television Council® ( is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media.

This national grassroots organization has more than 1.4 million members, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children.

The PTC™ also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.

Visit the new PTC Watchdog Blog at

Follow the PTC on Twitter: @ThePTC.
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To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver at (703) 307-9404 or email at