'Sesame Street' Drops 3 Longtime Castmembers

Bob McGrath - H Getty 2016
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Three longtime Sesame Street castmembers have been axed from the long-running children's show.

Bob McGrath (who played music teacher Bob), Emilio Delgado (fix-it shop owner Luis) and Roscoe Orman (science teacher Gordon) have all been let go from the series. The trio portrayed human characters who interacted with the Muppets.

McGrath broke the news earlier this month in a Q&A at Florida Supercon, but his comments only started getting attention Wednesday after The MuppetCast podcast posted it.

"As of this season, I have completed my 45th season this year," McGrath said during the Q&A. "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 castmembers 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."

Muraoka plays Alan, the owner of Hooper's Store, and Knowings plays Chris, who works at the store. McGrath also said that Loretta Long, the actress who plays Gordon's wife, Susan, will remain with the show.

The show's official Twitter account confirmed the news Thursday morning.

McGrath, Delgado and Orman "remain a beloved part of the Sesame family and continue to represent us at public events," the statement reads. "To us, and for millions of people worldwide, they are a treasured part of Sesame Street."

The statement continued: "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, 84, has been with Sesame Street since it debuted in 1969. Delgado, 76, joined in 1971. Orman, 72, took over the role of Gordon in 1974, becoming the third actor in the role.

The news comes a year after HBO and Sesame Workshop partnered to make the next five seasons of the iconic children's classic available on the premium network's platforms. The show made its HBO debut in January with its 46th-season premiere, incorporating a new look, set, updated theme song, format and castmembers, including Nina (Suki Lopez), who works at the local laundromat and bike store.

In response to McGrath's comments about HBO, Sesame Street's official statement emphasized that Sesame Workshop has "sole creative control" over the series and that HBO does not oversee production.

While HBO has first-run rights, Sesame Street episodes will continue to air on PBS stations months after their premium cable debut.