Thursday, July 28, 2016
Sesame Street is letting go of the last of it's long time cast members
These changes are not a result of the letters H, B, and O.
The changes keep on coming for Sesame Street. Last year, the controversial news broke that the show was packing its bags and moving on up to HBO from PBS—and now, most of the children’s show’s longtime (non-puppet) cast has been let go.
At Florida Supercon, original cast member Bob McGrath, known simply as “Bob” to his young audience, said that he and comrades for several decades Emilio Delgado (“Luis” on the show) and Roscoe Orman (“Gordon”) have had their last hurrah on Sesame Street.
“As of this season, I completed my 45th season this year,” McGrath said. “And the show has done a major turnaround, going from an hour to a half hour. HBO has been involved also. And so they let all of the original cast members go, with the exception of Alan Muraoka—who is still on the show, he is probably 20 years younger than the rest of us—and Chris Knowings, who is also young.”
McGrath made the announcement without any hint of hard feelings, but confirmed its implication more clearly later on: “As of this 46th season, the original cast, we’ve all been graciously let go.”
You can listen to McGrath’s full statement on MuppetCast, which broke the news, at around the 28:35 mark.
A statement on Sesame Street’s Twitter account confirms the layoffs, but also clarifies that “Sesame Workshop retains sole creative control over the show. HBO does not oversee production.”
In other words, though a fan's knee-jerk reaction may be to blame HBO, Sesame Street took pains to emphasize that this was not the network's decision.
The show’s move to premium cable has been contentious since the beginning: when it was first announced, many fans and parents noted that the show’s new home creates a gulf between children whose parents can afford HBO and those who cannot—even if new episodes of Sesame Street do still air on PBS, albeit nine months after they premiere.
And these aren’t the first high-profile departures from the show since its big move, either: last year, Sonia Manzano, who joined the show in 1971 and played Maria, announced her retirement.
For many older fans, including myself, who have introduced the show to their children, these longtime Sesame Street residents will be sorely missed.