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Season 46 (2016)

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Sesame Street
Premiere January 16, 2016 (4601)
Finale October 29, 2016 (4635)
Episodes 35

New opening sequence.

Sesame Street Season 46 Highlights02:07

Sesame Street Season 46 Highlights

Season 46 Highlight Reel


New Smart Cookies segment.

Sesame Street's 46th season premiered on HBO on January 16, 2016.

Season overview

Curriculum and Format

The show's 46th experimental season features several changes to the show's curriculum, format and set. The season's main educational goal is how to demonstrate kindness[1] and convey the lessons through new themes 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 less parents are co-viewing with their children.[1]

The show also tightens 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.[2]

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 and closing song sequences, the former marking the first time the theme sequence has taken place on the street set itself. Episodes also no long feature the characters reiterating the sponsors of the day at the show's end.

The "What's the Word on the Street?" cold opens have been discontinued in favor of brief scenes of the Muppet characters introducing the topic of each show. The Word of the Day segments are abandoned as well.

The season also marks the show's move to a new channel. The episodes debut first-run on HBO and will air on PBS following a nine-month window.[3] The season also introduces a shortened, half-hour format, completely dropping the hour-long run time.

Cast changes

Following the retirement of Fran Brill the previous fall, Stephanie D'Abruzzo takes over the role of Prairie Dawn and Jennifer Barnhart is cast as Zoe. Sonia Manzano retired prior to the season taping and therefore does not return as Maria.[4] Also leaving the cast are Nitya Vidyasagar (Leela) and Ismael Cruz Córdova (Mando). Joining the cast is a new recurring human character named Nina, played by actress Suki Lopez. On July 28, 2016, it was announced that Bob McGrath, Roscoe Orman, and Emilio Delgado would not be returning to the show, making this the final season that they are credited as cast members[5]; however, this was later explained as a misunderstanding.[6] Joey Mazzarino departed from Sesame Workshop a few months prior to the season's premiere, making this his last season involved with the show.

Set changes

The season introduces new changes to the set in an effort to get viewers to associate the Muppet characters with certain locales, as well as to modernize the look of the street.[7] Changes include:

  • Elmo's room is now located in the first floor cornerstone of 123 Sesame Street.
  • Cookie Monster takes up new residence above Hooper's Store, which is given complete facelift to resemble its initial design.
  • Big Bird's nest area is no longer hidden by used construction doors and is now sitting within a small, furnished tree.
  • 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 around the street.
  • An expanded garden area is added in the arbor, maintained by Abby Cadabby.
  • Other additions include a community center in the carriage house (with rooftop sitting area) and a Newsstand, located between the Subway Station and the Laundromat.

The changes were designed by David Gallo.[7] The new set elements were constructed by Showman Fabricators and Gotham Scenic (who built Oscar's new enclosure, the newsstand and Big Bird's nest).[8]


Initial elements for the season were taped in early February 2015, with primary filming taking place from April 14[9] to June 5.[10] Celebrity segments were shot in Los Angeles the week of March 30, 2015.[11]

The season marks the first use of a StediCam in studio for the show.[12]



Season 46 episode list

Season46 (1)

Nina, the newest human character, with Big Bird and Elmo


Alan Cumming as Muck Polo, with Oscar, Elmo, Grover and Nina (episode 4602)


Sara Bareilles performs "Just Like Magic."


"Orange is the New Snack"

Episodes 4601 - 4635 (35 episodes)


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) is scheduled for air 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.


Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Grover, Oscar, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Baby Bear, Rosita, Telly, Prairie Dawn, Zoe, Murray, Ovejita, Slimey, Snuffy, Ernie, The Count, Bert, Segi, Two-Headed Monster, Horatio, Mrs. Crustworthy, Stinky, Mr. Johnson, Jerome the Garden Gnome, Chipowski, Figby, Miss Fortune, The Crumb, Cookie Monster's Mommy, Grover's Mommy, The Two-Headed Monster's Mother, Telly's mom


Sesame Street Muppet™ Performers

Pam Arciero, Billy Barkhurst, Jennifer Barnhart (uncredited), 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, John Tartaglia (uncredited), Matt Vogel, Eric Wright (uncredited)

Guest Stars

Sara Bareilles, Aloe Blacc, Alan Cumming, Fifth Harmony, Nick Jonas, Ne-Yo, Pharrell, Gina Rodriguez, Tracee Ellis Ross, Gwen Stefani



Chris and Cookie Monster in the new, redesigned Hooper's Store.



  2. "F is for Facelift: Inside Sesame Street's new look." Brian Baiker, June 29, 2015
  3. New York Times article
  4. "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
  5. After 45 years, 'Sesame Street' cuts 3 beloved human characters
  6. "A Message from Jeffery Dunn, Sesame Workshop Blog post, August 2, 2016.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sesame Street Unveils Exciting Changes to its Iconic Set During Production of the Landmark Television Series’ 46th Season
  8. "Sesame Street Sports A New Set" -
  9. Stephanie D'Abruzzo's official website
  10. Paul Rudolph on Instagram
  11. Sesame Street on Twitter
  12. David Gallo on Twitter

External links

Previous season: Next season:
Season 45 (2014-2015) Season 47 (2017)

Start a Discussion Discussions about Season 46 (2016)

  • Letter sponsors

    • Season 46 of sesame street has never sponsored the letter O as it is the only letter never sponsored in this season which is what I saw.
  • Season 46 episode numbers

    12 messages
    • Okay, the first 9 episodes are where they should be as far as we know. Those are the only ones on the linked HBO schedule. As they add more,...

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