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“Sesame Street” is getting rid of three beloved characters, along with the human actors who play them. Bob McGrath (”Bob”), Emilio Delgado (“Luis”) and Roscoe Orman (“Gordon”) have all been let go, Sesame Workshop said in a statement on Facebook, adding that the trio would “continue to represent us at public events.”
“To us, and for millions of people worldwide, they are a treasured part of Sesame Street. Since the show began, we are constantly evolving our content and curriculum, and hence, our characters, to meet the educational needs of children. As a result of this, our cast has changed over the years, though you can still expect to see many of them in upcoming productions.”
McGrath first broke the news at Florida Supercon earlier this month.
“I have completed my 45th season this year,” he said on The MuppetCast podcast. “They let all of the original cast members go, with the exception of Alan Muraoka ― who is probably 20 years younger than the rest of us ― and Chris Knowings, who is also young.”
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McGrath, 84, has been on the show since it debuted in 1969, according to USA Today. Delgado, 76, was added in 1971, while 72-year-old Orman joined in 1974.
The casting changes follow the show’s switch from an hourlong format to a 30-minutes. New episodes will air first on HBO and be rebroadcast nine months later on PBS. However, a statement from the show said the decision to dismiss the veteran cast members wasn’t made by HBO.
“Sesame Workshop retains sole creative control over the show,” the organization said on Facebook. “HBO does not oversee the production.”
PBS also said it had nothing to do with the casting changes.
“’Sesame Street’ is produced by Sesame Workshop, which is an independent production company, and the casting decision was made by them,” PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger said, according to The Wrap. “We did not know about it beforehand. We found out about it after.”
The news came just one year after another longtime member of the cast, Sonia Manzano, retired. She had portrayed the character of Maria since 1971.