It appears Sesame Street has bid farewell to three of its longtime cast members.
Sesame Street actor Bob McGrath, who's played Bob the music teacher since the series premiered in 1969, announced at Florida Supercon earlier this month that he and fellow long-running actors Emilio Delgado and Roscoe Orman were let go from the cast. The decision reportedly came after HBO partnered with Sesame Workshop, the organization behind Sesame Street, in August 2015.
"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, with the exception of Alan Muraoka — who is probably 20 years younger than the rest of us — and Chris Knowings, who is also young," McGrath said on the podcast The MuppetCast on Wednesday.
Bob McGrath, Emilio Delgado, Roscoe Orman
McGrath has appeared on 45 seasons of Sesame Street since 1969, Delgado joined the cast as Luis the fix-it man in 1971, and Orman joined as Gordon the science teacher in 1974.
A representative for Delgado did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for a comment.
On Thursday, Sesame Street addressed the reported firings.
In a further statement to BuzzFeed News, a representative for Sesame Workshop clarified that McGrath, Delgado, and Orman will appear in upcoming episodes of Seasons 46 and 47.
"Roscoe was featured in new content for Season 46, which is currently airing on HBO, and will air on PBS this fall. Roscoe, Emilio, and Bob continue to appear in segments on the show — including in our upcoming Season 47. As you may know, from the very beginning, Sesame Street has a tradition of re-airing content because we’ve found that repeated viewings deepens the educational impact for children."
HBO and Sesame Workshop teamed up in 2015, and new episodes of Sesame Street began airing on the cable channel in January 2016. The current 46th season will also air on PBS, as noted in the statement above, but after a nine-month window.
The president and CEO of PBS, which was the sole home of Sesame Street from 1970 to 2015, also said that they had no part in the reported firings.
"As you know, Sesame Street is produced by Sesame Workshop, which is an independent production company and the ... decision was made by them," said PBS CEO Paula Kerger at the Television Critics Association summer press tour panel on Thursday. "We did not know about it beforehand. We found out about it after."
BuzzFeed News has also reached out to HBO for a comment.
UPDATE — On Friday, Orman told BuzzFeed News: "Due to your overwhelming reaction regarding the status of myself and others on the show, the new producers of Sesame Street have reached out to us with an expressed desire to continue our longstanding relationship, to be initiated with a meeting in September." The full statement is below.
"To all of you who have expressed your appreciation and support for the years of work and service to Sesame Street by me and my colleagues, I thank you!
"Due to your overwhelming reaction regarding the status of myself and others on the show, the new producers of Sesame Street have reached out to us with an expressed desire to continue our longstanding relationship, to be initiated with a meeting in September. Hopefully, this will result in the inclusion of veteran cast members in upcoming productions. I look forward to sharing with you at such time, the results of that conversation.
"Thanks again for your loving support and devotion to Sesame Street and to what it has meant to the children of the world."