|Premiere||January 16, 2016 (4601)|
|Finale||October 29, 2016 (4635)|
The show's 46th experimental season features several changes to the show's curriculum, format, and set.
Curriculum and Format
The season's main educational goal is how to demonstrate kindness. The episodes are now formatted around one specific curricular theme, particularly those relevant to the lives and interests of a typical preschool child (such as bedtime, boo-boos, and animals). Fewer celebrity and parody segments are employed this season, as studies have shown fewer parents (whom the segments are often geared toward) are co-viewing with their children.
The show also begins to tighten its focus in on a smaller number of select characters:
“The cast of Muppets, which has mushroomed over the decades, will be pared down to focus on a core six: Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, Grover, Big Bird and Oscar. The others will still be on the show, but the core cast will be the daily focus.”
Debuting in the season is a new Cookie Monster segment, "Smart Cookies." New editions of "Elmo the Musical" also debut (now running seven minutes), and "Elmo's World" is reintroduced to the show, with re-edited, high-definition versions of older segments. Also introduced are new opening (directed by Marco Spier of Psyop) and closing song sequences, the former marking the first time the theme sequence has taken place on the street set itself.
The "What's the Word on the Street?" cold opens have been discontinued and replaced by brief scenes of the Muppet characters introducing the topic of each show. The Word of the Day segments have been cut as well.
The season also marks the show's move to a new channel. The episodes debut first-run on HBO and then air on PBS following a nine-month window. The season also introduces a shortened, half-hour format, completely dropping the hour-long run time.
Following the retirement of Fran Brill the previous fall, Stephanie D'Abruzzo takes over the role of Prairie Dawn and Jennifer Barnhart takes over the role of Zoe. Joey Mazzarino departed from Sesame Workshop a few months prior to the season's premiere, making this his last season involved with the show.
Sonia Manzano retired prior to the season taping and therefore does not return as Maria. Also leaving the cast are Nitya Vidyasagar (Leela) and Ismael Cruz Córdova (Mando). On July 28, 2016, it was announced that Bob McGrath (Bob), Roscoe Orman (Gordon), and Emilio Delgado (Luis) would not be returning to the show; however, this was later explained as a misunderstanding as no scenes had been written for them this season.
The season introduces many changes to the street set in an effort to modernize the look of the street, evoke a greater sense of community and get viewers to associate the Muppet characters with specific locales. Changes include:
- Elmo's room is now located in the first floor cornerstone of 123 Sesame Street.
- Hooper's Store is given a complete facelift to resemble its initial design from 1969, with some modern touches as well. Cookie Monster was reported to be relocating to the apartment above. While material has been shot showing this development, it has yet to air on the show.
- Big Bird's nest is now sitting within a small, furnished tree, no longer hidden by used construction doors.
- Oscar's trash can is relocated to a dumpster unit in front of 123 Sesame Street. Oscar is also given the ability to appear from trash receptacles, recycling bins, and compost bins around the street.
- The garden area in the arbor is modified and now maintained by Abby Cadabby.
- Other additions include a community center in the carriage house (with rooftop sitting area) and a Newsstand (run by the Two-Headed Monster), located between the Subway Station and the Laundromat.
Initial elements for the season were taped in early February 2015, with primary filming taking place from April 14 to June 5. Celebrity segments were shot in Los Angeles the week of March 30, 2015.
The season marks the first use of a Steadicam in studio for the show.
Episodes 4601 - 4635 (35 episodes)
- Episode 4601 -- Bedtime Story
- Episode 4602 -- Mucko Polo, Grouch Explorer
- Episode 4603 -- Grover's Street Safari
- Episode 4604 -- Saved by Super Foods (repeat)
- Episode 4605 -- Funny Farm
- Episode 4606 -- Valentine’s Day
- Episode 4607 -- The Best Friend Band
- Episode 4608 -- When Dinosaurs Walked Sesame
- Episode 4609 -- What I Love About Art
- Episode 4610 -- Say Thank You to Your Face Day
- Episode 4611 -- Abby’s Fairy Garden
- Episode 4612 -- Elmo Steps in for Super Grover (repeat)
- Episode 4613 -- The Princess Story (repeat)
- Episode 4614 -- Enthusiastic Penelope Penguin (repeat)
- Episode 4615 -- Birdie & the Beast
- Episode 4616 -- Rocco’s Playdate (repeat)
- Episode 4617 -- Camping Show (repeat)
- Episode 4618 -- A Very Cookie Mother’s Day
- Episode 4619 -- Move It!
- Episode 4620 -- Hooper’s Lockdown
- Episode 4621 -- To The Moon, Elmo
- Episode 4622 -- Chicken Thunderstorms (repeat)
- Episode 4623 -- Music Magic (repeat)
- Episode 4624 -- Abby Makes the Seasons Change (repeat)
- Episode 4625 -- Boo Boo Busters
- Episode 4626 -- Elmo and the Bookeneers (repeat)
- Episode 4627 -- Bye Bye Pacifier (repeat)
- Episode 4628 -- Mi Amigita Rosita (repeat)
- Episode 4629 -- Dress-Up Club
- Episode 4630 -- Afraid of the Bark (repeat)
- Episode 4631 -- Good Sport (repeat)
- Episode 4632 -- Sesame Ocean
- Episode 4633 -- Don't Get Pushy (repeat)
- Episode 4634 -- School for Chickens (repeat)
- Episode 4635 -- Halloween
- Despite still being credited as part of the cast, Gina, Susan, Bob, and Luis do not make any new appearances this season. Gordon only appears in a brief cameo at the top of Episode 4629.
- The PBS airings feature new, brief segments featuring Rosita and Cookie Monster, shown just before the closing credits. This would continue with PBS' airings of episodes originating on HBO.
- While every episode is still sponsored by a letter and a number (with the exception of Episode 4628, which does not have a specific letter of the day), starting this season, they are no longer being announced at the end.
- None of the episodes are sponsored by the letters I, J, K, L, Q, R, T, U, X, Y or Z.
First-run episodes of Sesame Street began airing on HBO in 2016. The season debuted on Saturday, January 16, 2016, with two new episodes (4601 and 4602) airing back-to-back at 9:00AM ET/PT. In the subsequent weeks, a new episode aired on HBO every Saturday at 9AM, followed by a repeat at 9:30. New episodes debuted each Saturday morning for 33 weeks, running from January 16th until the end of the season. Episodes were simulcast in Spanish on HBO Latino, and new and library episodes air each weekday on HBO Family. The final episode of the season (4635) aired on October 29th.
The show continues to air on PBS as well, where episodes from Season 46 reached public broadcasting outlets on September 12, 2016, airing in a different order than HBO.
- Abby Cadabby, Anything Muppets, Baby Bear, Bert, Big Bird, Chipowski, Cookie Monster, Cookie Monster's Mommy, Count von Count, The Crumb, Mrs. Crustworthy, Elmo, Ernie, Figby, Miss Fortune, Grouches, Grover, Grover's Mommy, Horatio the Elephant, Jerome the Garden Gnome, Mr. Johnson, Murray Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Ovejita, Prairie Dawn, Rosita, Segi, Slimey, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Stinky the Stinkweed, Telly Monster, Telly's mom, Two-Headed Monster, The Two-Headed Monster's Mother, Zoe
- Alan: Alan Muraoka
- Gordon: Roscoe Orman
- Gina: Alison Bartlett
- Luis: Emilio Delgado
- Bob: Bob McGrath
- Susan: Loretta Long
- Chris: Chris Knowings
- Nina: Suki Lopez
- Caroll Spinney as Big Bird and Oscar
- Pam Arciero, Billy Barkhurst, Tyler Bunch, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Ryan Dillon, Eric Jacobson, John Kennedy, Peter Linz, Joey Mazzarino, Carmen Osbahr, Martin P. Robinson, David Rudman, Matt Vogel (Uncredited: Jennifer Barnhart, Jake Bazel, Austin M. Costello, Liz Hara, Christopher Hayes, John Tartaglia, Eric Wright)
- Sara Bareilles, Aloe Blacc, Alan Cumming, Fifth Harmony, Nick Jonas, Ne-Yo, Pharrell, Gina Rodriguez, Tracee Ellis Ross, Gwen Stefani
- Executive Producer: Carol-Lynn Parente
- Coordinating Producer: April Coleman
- Senior Producer: Benjamin Lehmann
- Line Producer: Stephanie Longardo
- Producer: Mindy Fila
- Directors: Ken Diego, Joey Mazzarino, Scott Preston, Matt Vogel, Nadine Zylstra, Benjamin Lehmann, Chuck Vinson
- Head Writer: Joey Mazzarino
- Writers: Molly Boylan, Annie Evans, Christine Ferraro, Michael J. Goldberg, Emily Perl Kingsley, Luis Santeiro, Belinda Ward, John Weidman, Ed Valentine, Geri Cole
- Puppets, Costumes, Props: The Jim Henson Company NY Creature Shop - Jason Weber, Rollie Krewson, Constance Peterson, Erin Slattery Black, Mary Brehmer, Matthew Brennan, Matthew Brooks, Frankie Cordero, Andrea Detwiler, Ben Durocher, Victoria Ellis, Andrea Gilletti, Brian Haimes, Liz Hara, Michelle Hickey, Ann Marie Holdgruen, Doug James, Sarah Lafferty, Lara MacLean, Laura Manns, Casey Miller, Anney Ozar, Jane Pien, Stephen Rotondaro, Kate Rusek, Sierra Schoening, Polly Smith, Whitney Thayne, Sally Thomas, David Valentine, Amanda Maddock
- Production: Melissa Creighton, Joseph Roddy, Jonathan Ehrich
- Music Director: Bill Sherman
- Music Coordinator: Jamie Guzzardo
- Music Director - (Arrangements and Orchestrations): Joe Fiedler
- Music Director - (Vocals): Paul Rudolph
- Music Copyist: Joe Fiedler
- Composers: Eli Bolin, Joe Fiedler, Jake Huffman, Chris Jackson, Questlove (uncredited), Kathryn Raio, JP Rende, Bill Sherman, Matthew Sklar, Shaina Taub, Carter Bays, Craig Thomas
- Film Producer: Kimberly Wright
- Associate Producers: Theresa Anderson, Karyn Leibovich
- Lighting Designer: Dan Kelley
- Celebrity Talent Booker: Bella Harkins
- Child Talent: Carolyn Volpe
- Costume Designer: Brian Hemesath
- Production Designer: David Gallo
- Post Production Graphics provided by Ed Mundy
- Prop Coordinator: Keith Olsen
- Associate Directors: Frank Campagna, Tim Carter, Emily Cohen, Ken Diego, Mindy Fila, Benjamin Lehmann, Jesse Averna, Todd E. James, Ashmou Younge
- Production Coordinator: Maxwell Nicoll
- Post Production Supervisor / Supervising Editor: Todd E. James
- Supervising Sound Editors: Michael Barrett, Chris Prinzivalli
- Sound Editor: Chris Sassano
- Sound Effects Editor / Re-Recording Mixer: Dick Maitland, C.A.S.
- Music Editor: Jorge Muelle, Paul Rudolph
- Supervising Music Editor: Michael Croiter
- Technical Directors: Tom Guadarrama, Richie Drummond, Manse Sharp
- Cameras: Frank Biondo, Shaun Harkins, Jerry Cancel
- Stagehands: Steve Dannenberg, Russell Hooton
- Senior Video: James Meek
- Tape: Ernie Albritton
- Utility (video): Barbara Bianco, Keith Guadarrama
- Utility (audio): Gordon Price
- Script Supervisor: Jennifer Capra
- Executive Assistant: Geri Cole
- Key Production Assistant: Andrew Moriarty
- Control Room PA's: Geri Cole, Andrew Moriarty, Ashmou Younge, Christina Elefante, Katie Robinson, Ivan Gonzalez, Claire Trumann
- Vice President of Education and Research: Rosemarie T. Truglio, Ph.D.
- Sesame Street Education and Research Team: Jennifer Kolter Clarke, Ph.D., David I. Cohen, Jessica DiSalvo, Jennifer Schiffman Sanders, M.S.Ed., Susan Scheiner, Courtney Wong, Autumn P. Zitani Stefano, M.A., Min Moon
- Special Thanks to Definition 6, Magnetic Dreams, Tony Testa, Yellow Sound Lab
- Taped at Kaufman Astoria Studios in New York
- "THE FUTURE OF SESAME STREET IS KINDER AND GENTLER, WITH FEWER PUPPETS". FastCompany.com, November 23, 2015
- "F is for Facelift: Inside Sesame Street's new look." Brian Baiker, Digiday.com. June 29, 2015
- Psyop - Marco Spier
- New York Times article
- "After 45 years on Sesame Street, @SoniaMManzano will no longer appear on the next season." American Libraries on Twitter with response from @SoniaMManzano, June 29, 2015
- After 45 years, 'Sesame Street' cuts 3 beloved human characters
- "A message from our CEO, Jeffery Dunn," Sesame Street Facebook post, August 2, 2016.
- Sesame Street Unveils Exciting Changes to its Iconic Set During Production of the Landmark Television Series’ 46th Season
- Sesame Street Art Department on Instagram
- "Sesame Street Sports A New Set" - LiveDesign.com
- Stephanie D'Abruzzo's official website
- Paul Rudolph on Instagram
- Sesame Street on Twitter
- David Gallo on Twitter
- Official press kit
- Inside the new 'Sesame Street' set: M is for Makeover at Mashable
- New on 'Sesame Street' this season: Just about everything at USA Today
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|Season 45 (2014-2015)||Season 47 (2017)|