'Sesame Street' Becomes HBO Max's Latest Target for Removal

HBO Max is feeling the pressure under the merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery. The new folks in charge have been culling countless originals, series, movies and more as they prepare to merge HBO Max with Discovery+. The latest to feel these changes? Classic children's television staple Sesame Street.

The streaming platform removed around 200 older episodes of the long-running kids' series, with Variety adding that the decision is related to Warner Bros. Discovery's attempts to streamline costs.

According to Variety, HBO Max lists 456 total episodes of the series. The decision removes around a third of the episodes, dropping the total from 650 across the show's entire run, to 456. The bulk of these episodes come from seasons 39-52, while the streamer originally had episodes from all seasons, including the now-missing seasons 2-4, season 6 and every season between 8 and 35.

The deal between HBO and Sesame Workshop started in 2015, giving the network rights to run new episodes of the series before they aired on PBS. According to Variety, the current deal keeps new seasons of Sesame Street on HBO Max through 2025.

The removal of Sesame Street episodes follows the decision to completely wipe 36 titles, including 20 original Max series, off the service. This includes Infinity Train, Summer Camp Island, Ellen Degenere's planned series, and other shows that will now only be available through illicit means.

Prior to this week's purge of content, HBO Max had already nabbed a ton of headlines for removing content and canceling releases for several high-profile projects. This includes the nearly complete Batgirl movie, the planned Wonder Twins adaptation, six additional Warner Bros. films, and several HBO series like Vinyl, Mrs. Fletcher, Run and Camping.

Warner Bros. Discovery has made no secret about what they want to do with their streaming platforms, looking to combine them into one soon enough. On top of the cuts to the properties above, there were also planned cuts coming to the reality department at HBO Max. Given Discovery's role in the reality TV landscape and their wide array of offerings, this shouldn't be a shock.