NEW YORK (AFP) - Sesame Street, the hit children's television show that has been broadcast in more than 150 countries, reached yet another milestone Monday as it celebrated its 45th anniversary.
An essential part of many childhoods in the US, the show that started in 1969 and features the famous Muppets puppets now says it reaches 156 million children worldwide.
Kermit, Cookie Monster, Elmo and the rest - the puppets created by Jim Henson - have become household names far beyond the US.
Celebrity cameos in the show are common - US First Lady Michelle Obama appeared with the puppets this year.
Its makers, citing a 2013 study, say children who watch one of the international versions of the program average higher "learning outcomes" than kids who don't watch.
"That means Sesame Street's impact is comparable to dedicated pre-school interventions - but on a vastly larger scale," the show said.
Sesame Street has received more television Emmy Awards than any other show in history.
Its writers say the name came from the command "Open Sesame!"