The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo
Based onSesame Street
by Joan Ganz Cooney
Lloyd Morrisett
Muppet characters
by Jim Henson
Presented byRyan Dillon
StarringRyan Dillon
David Rudman
Jennifer Barnhart
Peter Linz
Eric Jacobson
Stephanie D'Abruzzo
Matt Vogel
Narrated byDavid Rudman
Opening theme"It's Elmo" (instrumental break) by Mama Bear and the Monsters
Ending theme"Night-Night (aka. Elmo's Goodnight Lullaby)" by Elmo (season 1)
"It's Elmo" (season 2) (instrumental break)
ComposersBill Sherman
Joe Fiedler
Ryan Shore
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes29
Running time15 minutes
Production companySesame Workshop
Original release
Network PBS Kids (television)
ReleaseMay 27, 2020 (2020-05-27) –
December 30, 2021 (2021-12-30)

The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo is an American late-night talk show hosted by the Muppet character Elmo.[1] It is a spin-off of Sesame Street and was developed exclusively for the HBO Max streaming service. The series, consisting of 13 episodes, debuted on HBO Max on May 27, 2020. The first three episodes were available at launch, after which new episodes were premiered weekly.[2] Each episode runs for 15 minutes.[3] In March 2021, the series was renewed for a second season which premiered on September 30, 2021, when the show moved to the service's Cartoonito section.[4][5] However, in August 2022, the series was removed from HBO Max.[6] The series began airing on PBS Kids on February 10, 2023.


The host of the late-night talk show series is the Muppet character Elmo. The American program's main curricular goals are centered around children's bedtime routines, of which each episode demonstrates a different aspect.[2] The program focuses primarily on long-form, in-depth celebrity interviews, designed to help younger viewers connect with others on a deeper level.[7]

Cast and characters

Main article: List of Sesame Street Muppets

The Israeli version adds Moishe Oofnik, the Yiddish-influenced curmudgeon famous from Sesame Street's Israeli adaptations, as Elmo's sidekick.[7]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
First releasedLast released
113May 27, 2020 (2020-05-27)August 6, 2020 (2020-08-06)
216September 30, 2021 (2021-09-30)December 30, 2021 (2021-12-30)

Season 1 (2020)

No. in
GuestMusical guestOriginal release date [9]PBS Kids air date
11Jimmy FallonKacey MusgravesMay 27, 2020 (2020-05-27)February 10, 2023
Before bedtime, Elmo takes on the role of talk show host. For his first episode, Elmo's guests are Jimmy Fallon and Kacey Musgraves, who sings a classic Sesame Street song.
22The Jonas BrothersThe Jonas BrothersMay 27, 2020 (2020-05-27)March 31, 2023
The Jonas Brothers drop by Elmo's show to compete in a Silly Freeze Dance contest and sing a song about tooth-brushing. Abby Cadabby's magical fix causes havoc in the control room for Bert and Ernie.
33John MulaneyLil Nas XMay 27, 2020 (2020-05-27)February 17, 2023
Elmo looks inside some goody bags before challenging guest John Mulaney to a nail-biting tricycle race and dueting with Lil Nas X. Ernie leads a backstage tour in the middle of the show and Cookie Monster gets a special visitor.
44BatmanPentatonixJune 4, 2020 (2020-06-04)March 10, 2023
Batman (Victor Joel Ortiz, uncredited) plays a contest of Beach Ball Ballyhoo with Elmo until the Bat Signal appears on the curtain. In search of a perfect bedtime story, Elmo welcomes acapella group Pentatonix, who perform a medley of lullabies. Rosita looks for three sheep so she can tell her favorite bedtime tale and sings a goodnight song.
55Nature NickJordin SparksJune 11, 2020 (2020-06-11)February 24, 2023
Animal Trainer Nature Nick brings some animal friends on-set to help teach Elmo about nocturnal creatures. Jordin Sparks sings one of her favorite preschool songs, the "Itsy Bitsy Spider", and shares her favorite thing about night-time. Correspondent Grover goes to Sesame Street to investigate whether the sun should be in bed and to investigate whether it is night.
66Miles BrownThe Joyous String EnsembleJune 18, 2020 (2020-06-18)March 17, 2023
Elmo competes in a nursery rhyme rap battle contest with Miles Brown and the Joyous String Ensemble play a medley of familiar Sesame Street tunes. Cookie Monster babysits his little niece, who runs around the studio before her bedtime.
77Blake LivelyDan + ShayJune 25, 2020 (2020-06-25)April 7, 2023
Elmo and Cookie Monster talk about weird dreams before Blake Lively returns to Sesame Street for a contest of "Cookie Monster Says". Duo Dan + Shay perform "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon". Oscar the Grouch prepares to get his chance in the spotlight for "Trash Talk".
88John Oliver/Kwame AlexanderSofia CarsonJuly 2, 2020 (2020-07-02)April 21, 2023
Elmo finds out which animal John Oliver would be and they compete in the world's slowest and most dramatic race. Sofia Carson sings a lullaby to Elmo and Kwame Alexander recites an impromptu poem about Elmo.
99Hoda KotbBen PlattJuly 9, 2020 (2020-07-09)May 5, 2023
Elmo learns about Hoda Kotb's morning routine and challenging her to a contest of "Hot Potato". Ben Platt sings "C Is For Cookie" in a duet with Cookie Monster. Grover offers to pack Elmo's backpack for school.
1010Mykal-Michelle Harris/Jonathan Van NessH.E.RJuly 16, 2020 (2020-07-16)April 14, 2023
Elmo brings in "monster makeover specialist" Jonathan Van Ness to unleash the gorgeous monster inside Sesame Streeter Alan (Alan Muraoka), before Elmo and Cookie unveil hair and makeup transformations of their own. Mykal-Michelle Harris gives hosting a whirl and faces off with Elmo in a "No Laugh Challenge", and H.E.R. performs a song about her beautiful, versatile hair.
1111Andy CohenJosh GrobanJuly 23, 2020 (2020-07-23)March 3, 2023
It's time for Elmo's show, but his first guest, Grover is nowhere to be found! Not to worry, Andy Cohen steps in to do his best impression of the MIA monster Grover, while Josh Groban takes Oscar's lead in singing a "trashy" refrain.
1212Olivia WildeSara BareillesJuly 30, 2020 (2020-07-30)March 24, 2023
The Count helps Elmo keep an eye on the clock in preparation for jammie time. Elmo welcomes Olivia Wilde for a contest of "Teddy Bear Dress Up." Musical guest Sara Bareilles brings out two of her besties (Mona Tavakoli and Choska Potter) -- plus an extra special Sesame Street friend Big Bird -- to help her perform her very own version of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."
1313Jason SudeikisCiaraAugust 6, 2020 (2020-08-06)April 28, 2023
Elmo isn't timid about an important part of his bedtime routine: potty time (party time)! After he challenges Jason Sudeikis to a round of the "Silly Dance Game" contest, Ciara stops by to share an inspiring musical message called "Believe In Yourself". Meanwhile, Grover shakes things up as he plays usher.

Season 2 (2021)

No. in
GuestMusical guestOriginal release date [9]PBS Kids air date
141Drew BarrymoreKeedron BryantSeptember 30, 2021 (2021-09-30)June 2, 2023
152Seth MeyersKelly RowlandSeptember 30, 2021 (2021-09-30)June 30, 2023
163Brady NoonWanMorSeptember 30, 2021 (2021-09-30)May 12, 2023
174Amber RuffinBebe RexhaOctober 7, 2021 (2021-10-07)August 25, 2023
185Jenna Bush HagerSophie FatuOctober 14, 2021 (2021-10-14)August 18, 2023
196Ames McNamaraLeslie Odom Jr.October 21, 2021 (2021-10-21)May 19, 2023
207Dani & Dannah LaneAJROctober 28, 2021 (2021-10-28)August 4, 2023
218Rohan ChandKane BrownNovember 4, 2021 (2021-11-04)June 16, 2023
229Busy PhilippsN/ANovember 11, 2021 (2021-11-11)July 14, 2023
2310Aidy BryantHello SundayNovember 18, 2021 (2021-11-18)August 11, 2023
2411MacKenzie HancsicsakJuanesNovember 25, 2021 (2021-11-25)July 28, 2023
2512Sway BhatiaTori KellyDecember 2, 2021 (2021-12-02)July 7, 2023
2613Shahadi Wright JosephMadison ReyesDecember 9, 2021 (2021-12-09)June 23, 2023
2714Tamron HallBrandon NiederauerDecember 16, 2021 (2021-12-16)June 9, 2023
2815Big Bird (Matt Vogel)Kelvin DukesDecember 23, 2021 (2021-12-23)July 21, 2023
2916Isaiah Russell-BaileyJames Monroe IglehartDecember 30, 2021 (2021-12-30)May 26, 2023

International broadcast

In Southeast Asia, the series is aired through HBO Go and episodes are released alongside their HBO Max releases in the United States. In Canada, the series premiered on Treehouse TV on September 5, 2020.[10][11] In New Zealand, the series premiered on TVNZ OnDemand on January 8, 2021.[12] The show began airing on Cartoon Network in the United States on January 28, 2022, under the Cartoonito brand. The series premiered exclusively on the PBS Kids 24/7 channel on February 10, 2023.

Sesame Workshop announced the production of an Israeli adaptation of the series, titled The Talk Show with Elmo (תוכנית האירוח של אלמו), which is slated to premiere on Hop! Channel in October of the same year. 14 episodes have been produced.[7]


The pilot show was directed by Benjamin Lehmann and was produced in January 2019,[13][14] and features special guest Kacey Musgraves performing "Rubber Duckie".[15] Full production of the series took place in November and December 2019.[16]

In addition to Musgraves, confirmed guests were Jimmy Fallon, the Jonas Brothers, John Oliver, an uncredited actor Victor Joel Ortiz portraying Batman, Jason Sudeikis, Kwame Alexander, Sara Bareilles, Miles Brown, Ciara, Andy Cohen, Dan + Shay, Josh Groban, Mykal-Michelle Harris, H.E.R., Hoda Kotb, Lil Nas X, Blake Lively, John Mulaney, Pentatonix, Ben Platt, Jonathan Van Ness, Olivia Wilde and Sofia Carson.[17][18] On March 29, 2021, HBO Max renewed the series for a second season.[4]


The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo received positive reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the first season of the show an 81% "fresh" rating based on 16 reviews with an average rating of 7/10. The critical consensus is: "With great guests, fun games, and a lot of silly songs, The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo is a fitting bedtime show for tots that parents may even enjoy as well".[19] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100, assigned a rating score of 70 based on 8 critic reviews, meaning favorable reviews for the first season.[20]

The show has been reviewed by The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, The Week, and Comic Book Resources among others.[21][22][23][24]


Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2021 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Children's Programming The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo Won [25]
2022 1st Children's and Family Emmy Awards Outstanding Preschool Series The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo: Game Edition Nominated [26]


  1. ^ "'Sesame Street' star Elmo to interview celebrities on his own 'Not Too Late' talk show". USA TODAY.
  2. ^ a b "Sesame Workshop to debut 'The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo' on HBO MAX on Tuesday, May 27, 2020 | Sesame Workshop". Archived from the original on May 30, 2020. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  3. ^ "Muppet Elmo readies for his own starry HBO Max talk show". AP NEWS. May 14, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Petski, Denise (March 29, 2021). "'The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo' Renewed For Season 2 By HBO Max". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  5. ^ "Cartoonito Pre-K Block Debuts Sept. 13 on HBO Max & Cartoon Network". August 16, 2021.
  6. ^ White, Peter (August 17, 2022). "'Ellen's Next Great Designer', 'The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo' & 'My Mom, Your Dad' Among Unscripted & Animated Titles Pulled From HBO Max". Deadline. Retrieved August 18, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c msherwin (August 19, 2022). "'The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo' is getting a star-studded Israeli adaptation". St. Louis Jewish Light. Retrieved August 26, 2022.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Adams, Erik (May 19, 2020). "The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo is the next best thing to a streaming Muppet Show". The AV Club. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  9. ^ a b "The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo Episode Listings". The Futon Critic.
  10. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (June 23, 2020). "Corus Ent. Bolsters Specialty Portfolios, Including Toons for All Ages". Animation Magazine. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  11. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (August 26, 2020). "Corus Plans Fall Harvest of Animated Premieres on YTV, Teletoon & Treehouse". Animation Magazine. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  12. ^ Ward, Tara (December 15, 2020). "True blue: We talked to Grover, the best little monster on Sesame Street". The Spinoff. Archived from the original on January 12, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  13. ^ Sesame Street Art Department [@sesame_street_art_dept] (January 14, 2019). "Busy day with so many details to sort out and so little time. . . #sesame50 #sesamestreet #productiondesign #scenicdesign…" – via Instagram.
  14. ^ Musgraves, Kacey [@spaceykacey] (January 15, 2019). "Made a new BFF today ❤️ Can't wait for this to come out!" – via Instagram.
  15. ^ Today: The man behind new ‘Sesame Street’ songs feels a ‘responsibility’ toward kids, March 3, 2019.
  16. ^ "what has Stephanie been doing?".
  17. ^ Bareilles, Sara [@sarabareilles] (December 10, 2019). "Had a bit of a day. So special to be around this biggest bird...especially this week...thinking of his origins and his legacy...and sharing…" – via Instagram.
  18. ^ "Official Trailer". YouTube.
  19. ^ "The Not Too Late Show with Elmo: Season 1" – via Rotten Tomatoes.
  20. ^ "The Not Too Late Show with Elmo" – via Metacritic.
  21. ^ "'The Not Too Late Show With Elmo' : TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. May 26, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  22. ^ Framke, Caroline (May 18, 2020). "'The Not Too Late Show With Elmo' on HBO Max: TV Review".
  23. ^ "The Not Too Late Show with Elmo is pure Sesame Street gold". The Week. May 27, 2020.
  24. ^ "The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo Is EXACTLY What We Need Right Now". Comic Book Resources. May 30, 2020.
  25. ^ "Disclosure, Schitt's Creek, Sam Smith, Happiest Season, I May Destroy You, CHIKA, Veneno, Star Trek: Discovery, The Boys in the Band, The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo among award recipients at the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards". GLAAD. April 8, 2021. Archived from the original on April 9, 2021. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  26. ^ Schneider, Michael (November 1, 2022). "Netflix Leads First-Ever Children's & Family Emmy Nominations Tally". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Archived from the original on November 1, 2022. Retrieved November 1, 2022.