Elmo gets new format as “Sesame Street” begins Season 43

The beloved and influential children’s series Sesame Street begins its 43rd season Monday, Sept. 24, on PBS (check local listings for the exact time and channel in your area).

While much of what has made the show so impactful and important will remain — the fun and educational elements — one change is taking place of note regarding one of its most famous characters. The little red furry monster Elmo is having his “Elmo’s World” segment replaced after 13 years. But don’t fret, Elmo fans. Elmo is simply being given a new series of 11-minute skits, called “Elmo the Musical,” in which the high-talking guy uses his imagination to make math musical by singing, dancing and taking kids with him on interactive adventures. It’s the first new Elmo format in 13 seasons, so brace yourselves to answer some possible “Why?” questions, parents.

Beyond that, it’s the same Sesame Street many of us know and love. Last season, the program integrated a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum into its format as part of a new mission to excite and engage kids into becoming a generation of future scientists, mathematicians and engineers, and this season, the show says it is adding Arts into the equation, in an ongoing effort to encourage preschoolers to think artistically and critically even before they start school.

Of course, Sesame Street has long been known for its celebrity cameos and spoofs of pop culture, and those will continue big time in Season 43. Stars lined up to appear during this season include actors Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Amy Ryan, Casey Affleck, Melissa McCarthy, Steve Carell, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, David Hyde Pierce, Timothy Olyphant, Maya Rudolph, Eric Stonestreet, Jon Hamm, Dax Shepard, Zac Efron, Ed Helms, Kristen Bell and Paula Patton; NBA star Blake Griffin; NFL star Troy Polamalu; MLB star Matt Kemp; host Mario Lopez; host Wendy Williams; singer Colbie Caillat; rock band Train; and rapper/musician Common.

Pop-culture spoofs on this season of Sesame Street will include Birdwalk Empire, The Voice and Upside Downton Abbey.