As adults, tuning into “Sesame Street” is like a trip back to your childhood hometown — some of the faces in the neighborhood have changed, but an undeniable familiarity and comfort endures. Forty years after it premiered on public television, “Sesame Street” remains the highest-caliber educational program for preschoolers and parents to enjoy together — even if the old Cookie Monster mom and dad remember didn’t find carrots just as delicious as chocolate chips.
But adapting to the times is exactly how Big Bird and his crew have remained so relevant. “What we try to do is stick with what is the tradition for ‘Sesame Street,’ which is stay up to date with the media that we’re using, pay attention to what kids are watching and enjoying on other shows, and go out and ask them whether they like the stuff that we’re making,” says Miranda Barry, executive vice president in charge of content for Sesame Workshop. “If [companies] can use advertising to teach children to drink Pepsi or go to McDonald’s, why can’t we use that attractive medium to teach kids their letters and numbers?”