Despite Move to HBO, ‘Sesame Street’ Keeps it 100 with Guest Star Gina Rodriguez

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First they came for lower Manhattan, then northwest Brooklyn, southern Queens, Uptown, the Bronx, and now of all places, they’ve taken Sesame Street. The way things have been going in New York City, it was only a matter of time before the Street got gentrified, and after 45 seasons the iconic children’s show has ditched its populist PBS roots and moved into pay-cable territory with its switch to HBO. To boot, the show’s been streamlined from its traditional one-hour format to 30 minutes, new people are moving into the hood, the theme song’s been changed, and – horror of horrors – the block has gotten an “update.”

Thankfully, that update doesn’t involve shimmering glass towers with separate low-income entrances, or tasteless condominium blocks standing out garishly from their industrial surroundings. And from what we can tell, none of the show’s classic muppet creatures have been priced out…yet. In fact, according to the folks at HBO, the show’s cosmetic updates have all been in the service of a more enriching learning environment for kids, and the new character is not an upper-middle-class white couple from Ohio, but rather a young, bilingual Latina named Nina, played by Cuban-American Suki Lopez. The new season will also air on PBS Kids in late 2016.

So maybe it’s not that bad after all. And hey, if you were still in doubt, what’s better than Gina Rodriguez singing the ABCs in Spanish to cheer you up? Yes, we don’t have an official date for the broadcast, but HBO has confirmed that Rodriguez will guest star on the upcoming 46th season of the show and she will sing the ABCs in Spanish. Guess it goes to show that you can never take the sesame out the street.

Sesame Street’s new season premieres January 16, 2016 on HBO and will play on PBS Kids next fall.