HBO Max Pulls Nearly 200 Sesame Street Episodes amid Merger Purge

·2 min read
Sesame Street on HBO
Sesame Street on HBO

Courtesy of HBO

HBO Max removed nearly 200 Sesame Street episodes as the streamer continues to scale back its catalog.

As of Friday, HBO Max was still home to 456 episodes of the long-running children's program. However, the streaming service eliminated episodes from some of the show's earliest seasons, according to Variety.

In addition to Sesame Street, HBO Max also pulled 20 original titles and 36 titles overall this week, reports The Wrap. The company also announced that it no longer planned to release Batgirl or the animated series Scoob! Holiday Haunt.

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Warner Bros. Discovery — which is the parent company of HBO Max following the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. —  previously said the decision to eliminate titles from the service was due to the upcoming merger of HBO Max and Discovery+.

"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+," the company said in a statement, per Variety. "That will include the removal of some content from both platforms."

Reps for HBO Max and Sesame Workshop did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Leslie Grace Batgirl
Leslie Grace Batgirl

Warner Bros. Pictures/Instagram Leslie Grace as Batgirl

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The move comes as Warner Bros. Discovery aims to reduce costs and lessen licensing payments for streaming content, according to Variety.

Earlier this month, a spokesperson for HBO Max told Deadline that "live-action kids and family programming will not be part of our programming focus in the immediate future" after news of the cancellation of Gordita Chronicles broke.

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Warner Bros. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels echoed that sentiment during an earnings call earlier this month. He noted that kids and animation content would be cut "without an adequate investment case against them," per Deadline.

In 2015, HBO came to an agreement with Sesame Workshop to run new episodes of Sesame Street with the shows later airing on its original home network, PBS. The current agreement keeps original episodes airing on HBO Max through 2025, according to Variety.