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Grover and Elmo visit 'Squawk Box'

After 4½ decades the on air, Grover shared on Tuesday the secret to staying young on "Sesame Street": blue dye.

"Monsters age a little bit differently than TV hosts," Grover told CNBC's Becky Quick, co-host of "Squawk Box".

For Sesame Street Production, the studio behind the beloved show, one of the secrets to staying fresh has been embracing digital media, Vice President Nadine Zylstra added. "The business models of it are evolving and as digital shifts, we all have to be thinking about how we adapt with that, and I think it's a really exciting time."

Grover and Zylstra appeared on the "Squawk Box" set, along with Elmo to talk about the future of "Sesame Street," which celebrated its 45th anniversary Monday.

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"Sesame Street" and the franchise have moved far beyond their television roots. Half of viewers watch it in digital formats, and the YouTube channel has more than 1 million subscribers and 1.5 billion views.

Elmo and Grover visit CNBC's Squawk Box.
Stefanie Smith | CNBC

Zylstra said tablets and touchscreen technology in particular have the power to transform the way kids consume media.

"Especially for our kids, because touch is so fundamental to shifting their experience, I think [digital is] going to be a powerful force," Zylstra said.

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One thing that remains the same is the show's relationship with educators, Zylstra said. The production company bases its annual curriculum in part on insight from teachers, leading them to tackle not just ABCs and 123s, but topics such as obesity, STEM and delaying gratification.

"There are so many things in our toolbox these days. There's digital things, there's the broadcast show, there's every touchpoint possible, and we make a plan that lets us touch every single one of those," Zylstra said.

Asked what kind of devices they use, Elmo said Grover is too busy with his many jobs to play on tablets. The blue guy has famously taken on jobs ranging from waiter to astronaut to teach kids about work.

"I just love the service industry," Grover said. "I love helping people."