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HBO lays off original human cast of ‘Sesame Street’ in retooling

Bob McGrath, right, looks at the Cookie Monster as the accept the Lifetime Achievement Award for ‘Sesame Street’ at the Daytime Emmy Awards on Aug. 30, 2009, in Los Angeles.
Bob McGrath, right, looks at the Cookie Monster as the accept the Lifetime Achievement Award for ‘Sesame Street’ at the Daytime Emmy Awards on Aug. 30, 2009, in Los Angeles. AP

When HBO starts airing a new season of Sesame Street, it will be doing do without any of the original human cast members.

Bob McGrath, known as just Bob on the show, revealed at Florida Supercon in July that he and two other longtime cast members had been released from the show.

McGrath, 84, has been with the show since it started in 1969. Emilio Delgado, who played Luis, and Roscoe Orman, who played Gordon, were also released.

“As of this season, I have completed my 45th season this year. And the show has gone under a major turn around, going from an hour to a half-hour,” McGrath said. “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.”

PBS made a deal with HBO in 2015 that allowed HBO to take over the children’s show and air it first, before providing the episodes to PBS for free nine months later. The deal lasts five years and it’s unclear what will happen to the show after that period.

Many decried the move as the privatization of an educational show originally aimed at children in low-income families.

Other changes include cutting the show from an hour to a half hour and changing episodes’ focuses.

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