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'Sesame Street' Season 46 Debuts on HBO Jan. 16

Season 46 of iconic children’s series Sesame Street will launch on HBO Jan. 16 with 30-minute episodes, as opposed to the previous hour; new opening and closing songs; an updated set; a Cookie-Monster helmed segment called “Smart Cookies”; and a new cast member.

Sesame Street ran on PBS for 45 years. In August, HBO and Sesame Workshop struck a deal to bring the series to HBO for five years. HBO plans to produce 35 episodes a season, nearly twice what was produced on PBS.

The shorter episodes will help kids “focus their attention and engage with each story,” HBO said.

Two episodes will debut at 9:00 a.m. (ET) Saturday, Jan. 16, with new episodes debuting in the same time-slot each Saturday thereafter. New installments will also debut simultaneously on HBO Latino and will be dubbed in Spanish.

The shows will air on PBS Kids next fall.

“Families will see fun and fresh changes to Sesame Street and can depend on their favorite Muppet friends to provide them with engaging and educational content,” Brown Johnson, executive VP and creative director, Sesame Workshop, said. “We’re excited to bring the timeless lessons of Sesame Street to HBO viewers, like learning numbers from The Count, inner strength from Elmo and kindness from Abby.”

The cast’s new addition is Nina, a “young, bilingual, Hispanic woman” who “uses her wit, compassion and charisma” to help the Sesame Street denizens solve their problems. Played by Suki Lopez, Nina works at the laundromat and the bike store.