UPDATED: Veteran Human Cast Members Let Go from Sesame Street

Published: July 28, 2016
Categories: News

UPDATE, 11:57 AM: Sesame Workshop has issued the following official statement:

Bob McGrath, Emilio Delgado (“Luis”) and Roscoe Orman (“Gordon”) remain a beloved part of the Sesame family and 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.   As we’ve stated previously, Sesame Workshop retains sole creative control over the show.  HBO does not oversee the production.

This indicates pretty clearly that the door to 123 Sesame Street has not been closed forever to the older cast members.  I don’t think there was any doubt that Sesame Workshop considered them a “treasured part” of the show, but it’s nice to get an official acknowledgement.

Our original news item on reports the cast changes is below…


Sesame Street cast season 16

The season 16 cast (You already know who’s who)

In a recent interview, recorded by a fan and reported on the MuppetCast podcast, Bob McGrath revealed that he and his longtime Sesame Street castmates have been “let go” from the show.  As reported by The MuppetCast, while discussing his career in a panel at Florida SuperCon, McGrath said:

As of this season, I completed my 45th season this year.  And the show has done a major turnaround.  It’s now gone from an hour to half an hour, and HBO has gotten involved also.  And so, they let all of the original cast members go, with the exception of Alan Muraoka, who’s still on the show and he’s probably 20 years younger than the rest of us, and Chris Knowings, who’s also young, and they’re terrific, wonderful people and really great actors and performers.

Presumably “all cast members except Alan and Chris” would mean that Loretta Long’s Susan and Alison Bartlett’s Gina will also no longer be on the TV show.  But for some reason the story that’s been spreading has focused on Bob McGrath, Emilio Delgado, and Roscoe Orman.

Since the MuppetCast broke the story, several other outlets have picked it up, and a lot of the response seems to be something like “How can there be Sesame Street without Bob and Gordon?  I can’t believe HBO did this!”

What's the Name of That SongBut as those who have kept track of the show know, over the past 12 years or so, Bob’s role has been down to approximately one group musical number per season, while the other long-tenured humans have had their prominence dwindle to one or two street scenes per season.  In interviews, McGrath has become fond of saying that it feels more like a hobby than a job.  So if you’re going by screen time, there’s not a lot of difference between eight minutes a season and zero minutes a season.

It’s also important to note that, by all reports, the HBO deal did not give the cable network any creative control over the show.  And as much as we could speculate (and the fans surely will speculate, and speculate, and speculate), we don’t know how or why the decision was made at Sesame Workshop.

But all that aside, this is sad news.  There’s always been something comforting about turning on Sesame Street and seeing the old folks show up.  The show has been on the air forever, and it’s remarkable that these core characters have lasted as long as they have.  The humans of Sesame Street the television program are a huge part of what makes Sesame Street the neighborhood feel like a real place.

These people are some of our favorite TV stars, so we’re sorry to see them go, but we wish them all the best, and we thank them for all the decades of learning, music, comedy, kindness, toaster-fixing, and people in our neighborhood.

Keep an eye on this website for more tributes to the human cast members! Click here to wish them the best on the Tough Pigs forum!

by Ryan Roe – Ryan@ToughPigs.com

Gimme Five Gordon David Luis Bob

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