‘Sesame Street’ To Be Canceled? President Trump’s Budget Cuts Threaten CPB Funds

Will Sesame Street be canceled if President Donald Trump cuts funds for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)? According to an announcement revealed on Thursday by the head of CPB, proposed budget cuts by Trump could affect shows on the network that is known for airing the children’s program that stars Big Bird and Elmo. CPB oversees both PBS and NPR.

President and CEO of CPB Patricia Harrison expressed concern over Trump’s possible cuts to the network, which would impact its most famous and beloved television show, Sesame Street.

“The elimination of federal funding to CPB would initially devastate and ultimately destroy public media’s role in early childhood education, public safety, connecting citizens to our history, and promoting civil discussions – all for Americans in both rural and urban communities.”

Harrison says in her statement released on CPB’s website that the investment each American makes into the CPB is about $1.35 per year with “huge dividends” in the form of “expanding opportunity, beginning with proven children’s educational content to providing essential news and information as well as ensuring public safety and homeland security through emergency alerts, this vital investment strengthens our communities.”

Daily Mail notes that Sesame Street and other organizations are threatened due to Trump’s increase in military spending. Besides slashing funds to CPB, cuts would be made to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Actors and authors are already taking a stand against the decisions… signing a petition asking Congress to keep the National Endowment for the Arts. Among those who’ve signed the petition are actor John Lithgow, singer Roseanne Cash, and authors Salman Rushdie and Judy Blume.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu issued a statement about the possibility of President Trump cutting funds to the program.

“We are disappointed because we see our funding actively making a difference with individuals of all ages in thousands of communities, large, small, urban and rural, and in every Congressional District in the nation.”

National Endowment for Humanities Chairman William D. Adams echoed a similar sentiment in his statement by saying “NEH has made significant contributions to the public good over its 50-year history.”

Harrison added in her statement that the corporation “will work with the new Administration and Congress in raising awareness that elimination of federal funding to CPB begins the collapse of the public media system itself and the end of this essential national service.”

As the report notes, 2012 Republican president nominee, Mitt Romney, told PBS worker and debate moderator, Jim Lerher, that he would’ve liked to cut the budget for public television network and stop funding Sesame Street.

“I’m sorry, Jim. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”

Fortunately for children and their families, Sesame Street, may not be in danger of cancellation because it has a financial safety net. Only a small amount of tax dollars go towards it from a PBS grant. In fact, Sesame Workshop signed a 5-year contract in 2015 with HBO, which now runs the TV show before the PBS stations. This places them in a safe position in spite of President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to CPB.

[Featured Image by Jason Kempin/Getty Images]