Longtime Sesame Street actor Bob McGrath revealed that he and two of the other show’s cast members were let go when HBO acquired the children’s series.
McGrath, who’s been on the show since it began in 1969, will depart the series along with Emilio Delgado, who played Luis, and Roscoe Orman, who played Gordon. McGrath pointed to HBO, who took over broadcasting rights last fall, for the change.
“As of this season, I have completed my 45th season this year,” McGrath revealed on The MuppetCast podcast earlier this week. “And the show has gone under a major turnaround, going from an hour to a half hour. HBO has gotten involved also. And they let all of the original cast members go.”
The show responded to the cast changes on Twitter and in a statement to EW, writing, “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.”
The statement praised McGrath, Delgado, and Orman as “beloved” parts of the Sesame Street family, while also maintaining that HBO does not oversee production and Sesame Workshop “retains sole creative control.”
In January, executive producer Carol-Lynn Parente spoke with EW about what the move to HBO would mean for the show: “The challenge in being a show that’s almost 47 years old is that you constantly have to evolve, but you have to keep that essence of what feels like Sesame Street to whatever generation is watching.”
Sesame Street continues its 46th season on HBO this Saturday.