Sesame Street accused of ageism as it cuts nearly all original cast members

Kids show has let go three of last four original residents of neighborhood, and the remaining original is actor is probably 20 years younger than the rest of us

Sesame Street is about to look a lot different. The 45-year-old childrens show is losing three of its oldest cast members, triggering nostalgia and ire from longtime fans.

Earlier this month, actor Bob McGrath announced at Florida Supercon, a comic convention, that he and cast members Emilio Delgado and Roscoe Orman were let go from the series as a result of its recent move to HBO. His comments surfaced online on Tuesday.

As of this season, I have completed my 45th season this year. 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 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, according to radio station KQED.

McGrath was one of Sesame Streets few original cast members, playing Bob the music teacher since 1969. Delgado joined two years later as Luis, the owner of the Fix-It Shop. Orman became the third actor to play Gordon, a teacher and one of the original residents in the neighborhood, in 1974.

Last year, HBO announced it would take over five seasons of the show that could then be aired on PBS where the show originated after a nine-month period. The controversial deal garnered mixed reactions but ultimately meant more content and allowed the show to stay on the air after struggles in funding. Episodes grew shorter and focused on more modern topics geared at children raised with the internet.

Sesame Street released a statement on Twitter stating that HBO was not to blame for the changes. As weve stated previously, Sesame Workshop retains sole creative control over the show. HBO does not oversee the production, it read.

Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) July 28, 2016

Regarding our beloved cast members: pic.twitter.com/NzZ3HAuIc6

The statement said that McGrath, Delgado and Orman remain a beloved part of the Sesame family.

Fans of the long-running show expressed their disappointment online.

My childhood is slowly dying over here, one woman wrote, echoing the sentiments of many.

Some made comments about age discrimination and gentrification pushing the older cast members out of the neighborhood.

Sesame Street continues gentrifying, evicts its oldest residents, said Harry Siegel of the Daily Beast .

Mary Rinaldo Hansen (@JRCFoundation) <a href=”https://twitter.com/JRCFoundation/status/758684522674348032″ data-link-name=”in” body link” class=”tweet-date”>July 28, 2016

Very dipsappointed Sesame Street Nice way to teach loyalty & respect to kids Will u hve funeral or pretend they went to live happy on a farm

The Guardian has reached out to Sesame Workshop for comment.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/jul/28/sesame-street-cuts-original-cast-members-hbo-pbs

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