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Fox Gets Movie Rights to Sesame Street

Meddling Kids

Would you believe that Sesame Street has only had two theatrically released movies in its forty-three year history? 20th Century Fox is looking to change that, since they just acquired the movie license to the long-running children’s television show, and equipped the new production with a writer and producers.

Color us interested.

Well, academically, at least. The success of The Muppets left me half expecting something of this kind. It might be Muppets minutiae, but while the puppets on Sesame Street are created by the same folks who make Muppets, but they are not Muppets characters from a licensing standpoint. The Muppets currently belong to Disney, while the rights Sesame Street and its characters are controlled by Sesame Workshop, formerly the Children’s Television Workshop. So yeah, I’m not surprised at all that a movie studio like Fox, one of Disney’s biggest competitors, wants to make a movie featuring what muppets it can actually get its hands on.

Which is not to say I think this will be a travesty of epic proportions. Quite the contrary, the writer Fox has tapped for the script is Joey Mazzarino, twenty-two year veteran puppeteer and writer for Sesame Street. And knowing how tight Sesame Workshop is about depictions of its characters (for example, they continue a rule set down by Jim Henson restricting any Sesame Street character from appearing in advertising for toys and other retail items based on their likenesses), I’m going to assume that they’ve got the final say on pretty much everything about the movie.

No, the question I’m wondering idly about is whether or not I’ll enjoy the movie. The last Sesame Street movie came out in 1999, and followed Elmo as a main character. While I think Elmo’s pretty cute in reasonably sized doses, and have an intense love for the work of Kevin Clash, his puppeteer, he wasn’t around much during my childhood viewing of the show and doesn’t really do it for me as a nostalgic character. I’ll readily admit that there are a handful of characters in that picture above whose names completely elude me. Sesame Street‘s priority should be on connected with people who are kids today, not two decades ago.

But if I had to ask anything of the production, it would be that maybe, just maybe, somebody will finally tell us how to get there. I already live in New York, like, just give me a cross street.

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