NBA players, country music artists, and more will hang out with Big Bird, Elmo, Ernie, Bert, and the rest of the Sesame Street crew in Season 51 of the beloved children's show. Yup, kids (and let's be honest, parents, too) can look forward to lots of fun surprises from the celebrity-packed new season of Sesame Street airing this week.
Season 51 of Sesame Street premieres on Thursday, Nov. 12 on HBO Max with 35 new episodes. The episodes will first air on HBO Max on Thursdays and then the entire season will make its way to PBS KIDS in the fall of 2021.
The celeb lineup includes songwriter Maggie Rogers, who will be sharing her love about bright shining stars and nocturnal animals in a musical number in Nov. 19th's episode. Then on Nov. 26, Pitch Perfect 3 actress Hailee Steinfeld will perform the upcoming season anthem, "I Wonder. What If? Let’s Try." Next up on Dec. 10, Issa Rae will channel her inner queen and help build a castle. The Insecure star will also voice a puppet. Then on March 25, Steph and Ayesha Curry will be in the kitchen with Cookie Monster and Elmo making a veggie lasagna. Other celebrity guests will include Grammy-winner Billy Porter on April 1, who will appear on a camping episode, and country music artist Kelsea Ballerini on June 17.
The 51st season also commemorates 51 years that the children's show has been delighting families. Sesame Street made its debut on Nov. 10, 1969, a day that's considered "National Sesame Street Day."
Sesame Workshop’s upcoming CEO, Steve Youngwood says the new season is part of a two-year curriculum to teach kids "playful problem-solving" skills that will enable them to build critical thinking skills to help "handle challenges in school and beyond."
“We are proud to announce our newest episodes of Sesame Street, designed to entertain and educate kids as we help them build curiosity, creativity, and persistence – an especially crucial focus as families continue to face unprecedented challenges," Youngwood said in a press release.
Sesame Street executive producer Ben Lehmann told USA Today that the new season send a positive and encouraging message to kids. "Our curriculum for this season is about playful problem-solving, positive approaches to learning which is about trial and error and not giving up," Lehmann told the news outlet. Lehmann added that the new season of Sesame Street hopes to especially speak to its young viewers who feel pressured to get things right and let them know it's OK to mess up. Also, reassure in them the spirit of resilience while living in a pandemic age. "It's really gonna be powerful during the pandemic to be able to have those lessons for kids so that they understand that it’s OK – things can be bumpy," Lehmann told USA Today. "But if you try and give your best effort, you’ll get there."
Sesame Street's move to HBO Max is part of a five-year deal Sesame Workshop has with WarnerMedia's streaming platform. The latest season will be added to Sesame Street's HBO entire library that is already available for streaming, which includes over 150 episodes as well as The Not Too Late Show with Elmo.