Sesame Street is such a fixture on the small screen that it's always felt like the familiar faces will be around forever. The humans have been as essential as the puppets when it comes to bringing the magical neighborhood to life. Now, big changes are coming for the humans of Sesame Street, and they're pretty depressing. The show has fired three of the cast members that have been around the Street for a very long time. Bob McGrath, Emilio Delgado, and Roscoe Orman will no longer be a part of Sesame Street.
Sesame Street has been in trouble in recent years. After an $11 million loss in 2014, cancellation was all too possible. Luckily, HBO stepped in with a five-year deal that promised funding to continue the series. HBO has aired new episodes and nabbed a deal to hold the exclusive rights for nine months, at which point PBS will get to bring the show to children whose parents don't subscribe to the premium cable network. The show was saved; it just hasn't been saved for everybody. According to Bob McGrath at the recent Florida Supercon (via The Muppet Cast), the characters of Bob, Luis, and Gordon won't have a future on HBO.
Sesame Street later reached out via social media and released a statement about the cast changes, making it seem as if the parting of ways has been fairly amicable:
Bob McGrath, Emilio Delgado and Roscoe Orman remain a beloved part of the Sesame Street 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...
The show goes on to say that it was a creative decision and that it maintains the rights to make decisions and HBO does not, which makes it seem like this was a decision that Sesame Street chose to make.
Bob McGrath has been a staple of Sesame Street ever since its first season premiered in 1969. He spent nearly 50 years playing the character Bob, who was been the resident music teacher. He lived in an apartment above Hooper's Store, which has seen a lot of musical action over the years. McGrath was a recording artist popular in Japan prior to joining Sesame Street, after which he dedicated his life to entertaining and educating children with sketches, songs, and stories.
Emilio Delgado joined the cast of Sesame Street in 1971, and he was the first addition to the human cast after the original actors. He spent 45 years delighting kids as Luis, who was the repairman for the street. He ran the Fix-It Shop with his wife Maria. Delgado's time on Sesame Street has given him the right the claim the longest-running role for a Mexican-American actor in an ongoing series, and he helped teach viewers young and adult about Hispanic culture.
Roscoe Orman played Gordon, who was a character who first appeared in the very first episode of the series. Orman was actually the third performer to tackle the part; after two actors played Gordon in the first six years, Orman would embody the character for 42 years from 1974 until 2016. Gordon was a science teacher living on Sesame Street, and he could always be counted on for some fun and learning on the show. Orman has been active with educating families outside of Sesame Street as a storyteller for AudibleKids.
All in all, Sesame Street won't be the same without these three actors on board. There have been plenty of changes with the HBO retooling, but losing three long-running cast members in one fell swoop is still a blow. Now, only Loretta Long as Susan will remain from the early days of Sesame Street. We'll have to wait and see if HBO will be able to carry on Sesame Street without drops in quality now that Bob McGrath, Emilio Delgado, and Roscoe Orman are out of the picture.
Check out our fall TV premiere schedule to see what you'll be able to catch on the small screen in the not-too-distant future.