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HBO Max abruptly pulls 200 Sesame Street episodes

In potentially devastating news for kids and parents, about 200 episodes of Sesame Street have been removed from HBO Max, Variety reports. Many of the dropped episodes are from the show’s earliest seasons, and the number of Sesame Street episodes on the service has fallen from around 650 to 456, according to Variety.

HBO and Sesame Street have been connected for years; WarnerMedia (now Warner Bros. Discovery) locked in a big five-year deal in 2019 to exclusively stream new episodes of the show, and Sesame Street first began airing on HBO in 2016.

Sesame Street is and has always been an important part of television culture and a crown jewel of our preschool offering,” HBO Max spokesperson Chris Willard said in a statement to The Verge. “We are committed to continuing to bring Sesame Street into families’ homes, including the newest season premiering this fall and the nearly 400 episodes of the most current and historic seasons that remain on Cartoonito on HBO Max.

The older episodes of Sesame Street aren’t the only shows that are getting pulled; according to NPR, Warner Bros. Discovery is also planning to remove 36 titles from HBO Max. That includes some Sesame Street specials and the late-night-style show starring Elmo, as well as HBO Max Originals like Infinity Train and Summer Camp Island.

“As we work toward bringing our content catalogs together under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and Discovery Plus,” HBO Max said in a statement to Variety regarding the decision to pull 36 shows. “That will include the removal of some content from both platforms.” The new app replacing HBO Max and Discovery Plus is set to launch next summer.

Warner Bros. Discovery has been dropping content left and right; it recently shelved Batgirl and yanked at least six Warner Bros. movies from HBO Max. Earlier this week, the company cut jobs at HBO Max because of overlap from the Warner Bros. Discovery megamerger.

Update August 19th, 5:58PM ET: Added statement from HBO Max.

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