The Muppets of “Sesame Street” are reuniting virtually with a primetime special aimed at comforting kids amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Premiering Tuesday night on multiple channels, “Sesame Street: Elmo’s Playdate” will feature Elmo hosting a video conference with pals, including celebrity guests Anne Hathaway, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tracee Ellis Ross. Muppet friends like Grover, Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby will join as well to celebrate health care workers, tout the joy of baking cookies at home, and find new ways to play and learn together.
According to a press release for the 30-minute special, Hathaway will dance to “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” Miranda will lead viewers in “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and Ross will play a game of “Elmo Says.”
“We hope ‘Sesame Street: Elmo’s Playdate’ will entertain and inspire families at a moment when so many are feeling isolated and overwhelmed by current events,” said Steve Youngwood, president of media and education and chief operating officer of Sesame Workshop. “With help from our distribution partners around the world, this special will encourage parents and kids to gather and relax as a family, in a way that only the ‘Sesame Street’ Muppets can.”
The new program is part of Sesame Workshop’s “Caring for Each Other” initiative ― a hub of resources created in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The resources include ideas for at-home play and learning, self-care tips for parents, mental health guidance and more.
While putting together the TV special presented some logistical challenges, the puppeteers were able to work remotely with producers, curriculum experts, a director, an editor and other collaborators to bring (to quote Sesame Workshop) “the furriest virtual hangout ever” to life.
“Sesame Street: Elmo’s Playdate” will air on WarnerMedia networks (HBO, HBO Latino, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, and truTV) and PBS Kids streaming platforms and local stations at 7 p.m. Eastern Time/6 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday. PBS stations will rebroadcast the special throughout the month, and it will air in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Singapore and Canada beginning on April 15.
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