Reversing a controversial move to drop three longtime “Sesame Street” cast members — including Bob McGrath, who was with the show since its inception — the program’s producer said in a statement Tuesday that it will “meet in person” with each about continuing their roles.
The three — McGrath, Emilio Delgado and Roscoe Orman — were recently dropped as cast members, according to McGrath, who spoke of the firings during a podcast. McGrath, 85 — who plays Bob — had been with the show since 1969, although appearances for all three had been sporadic in recent years. A half-hour version of the long-running series now airs on HBO.
In the statement, Jeffrey Dunn, the chief executive of Sesame Workshop, said, “We apologize for the misunderstandings around the changing cast roles at ‘Sesame Street.’ Over more than 40 seasons, Bob McGrath, Emilio Delgado and Roscoe Orman have made enormous contributions to both television and to the lives of preschoolers.
“They are, and always will be, a key part of the ‘Sesame’ family.”
Dunn’s statement added that “in 2014, when we first began producing the current half-hour show format, we let all of our cast members know of the shorter storylines and, therefore, reduced appearances. However, our production team also intentionally left the door open for all actors to continue to appear, based on the storylines that were written in any future season. In our latest season, the storylines written did not include appearances by these three actors and we certainly could have done a better job of communicating with them about our ongoing episode plans. I have been in touch with each of them to meet in person about how we best adapt their talents to the current content needs and preschool media landscape, in a way that honors their historic contributions. We are very grateful for the many loyal fans of ‘Sesame’ who continue to care so deeply about the show and what it means to them.”
Delgado, 76 — who plays Luis and joined the show in 1971 — told the website Fox News Latino last week: “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 long-standing relationship, to be initiated with a meeting in September. Hopefully, this will result in the inclusion of veteran cast members in upcoming productions.”