The Margin: HBO Max quietly pulls 200 ‘Sesame Street’ episodes to save money, angering parents and fans

Here’s some news that’s sure to make Oscar the Grouch even grouchier.

HBO Max is pulling some 200 “Sesame Street” episodes, according to Variety and other media outlets. The decision could be part of a wave of cost-cutting by the streaming platform, or as Variety noted, it “appears to be part of new owner Warner Bros. Discovery’s
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belt-tightening moves, aimed at reducing streaming-content payment obligations.”

Until recently, HBO Max had offered about 650 episodes of the popular PBS children’s series, which has run for more than 50 years and features such beloved characters as Kermit the Frog, Big Bird and, yes, Oscar the Grouch. But Variety said that only 456 episodes were available as of Friday.

There’s a little less Oscar the Grouch to go around on HBO Max.

Matthew Peyton/Getty Images

HBO officials didn’t immediately respond to a MarketWatch request for comment.

But plenty of fans reacted to the disappearing episodes with dismay, which led “Sesame Street” to trend on Twitter
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with more than 10,000 tweets on Friday afternoon. “You have to be a special kind of evil to remove episodes of Sesame Street of all things,” tweeted one.

This isn’t the only cost-cutting moves being made at HBO Max of late. The streaming service is also reducing its labor force, according to a Wall Street Journal report.  And it is removing other programs from its lineup, according to Variety.

Still, August a big month for HBO Max. The service will begin streaming the much-anticipated “House of the Dragon,” the prequel to “Game of Thrones,” starting Sunday.

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