‘Sesame Street’ heading to HBO Max in 2020

Sesame Street” is heading to WarnerMedia’s new streaming service, HBO Max.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind the series, will produce five new 35-episode seasons for HBO Max starting in spring of 2020, WarnerMedia announced Thursday. (WarnerMedia is CNN’s parent company.)

The show will still air for free on PBS Kids after it has premiered on the streaming service.

HBO handed “Sesame Street” a lifeline back in 2015 when the nonprofit was losing money by agreeing to distribute new episodes on the paid cable network for five years.

HBO Max will also air annual “Sesame Street” specials and four new related series including a late night TV talk show called “The Not Too Late Show with Elmo.” HBO Max subscribers will also have access to the 50-year library of the show. The service is scheduled to launch in Spring 2020.

WarnerMedia has made costly deals to beef up HBO Max by acquiring popular adult fare like “Friends” and by signing big names like JJ Abrams. But as the streaming wars heat up, and potential subscribers are choosing between services, kids’ content can be an important way for a service to convince parents that they have to spend on their product over a rival’s.

More importantly, WarnerMedia needs a library that can compete with Disney+, the upcoming streaming service owned by the Walt Disney Company, which has made a name for itself primarily with children’s content.

Amazon and Netflix are also stacked with family-friendly content, and one of the launch shows for the upcoming Apple TV+ is “Snoopy in Space,” a series based on the iconic Peanuts beagle.

“‘Sesame Street’ is, and always has been, the gold standard for children’s programming,” Robert Greenblatt, the chairman of WarnerMedia entertainment and direct-to-consumer, said in a statement. “This brand is synonymous with quality and integrity, not to mention that nothing is more important than educating young new minds. This landmark deal perfectly illustrates the type of quality programming HBO Max will offer across every demographic.”