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The cutting of three veteran Sesame Street cast members was the result of the educational children’s series’ “evolving” curriculum and thus characters, and not any HBO interference, producers said in a statement on Thursday.

In the wake of recent reports that Bob McGrath and Emilio Delgado and Roscoe Orman — who played Bob, Luis and Gordon for 45, 45 and 42 years, respectively — had been let go concurrent with the show’s retooling for HBO, Sesame Workshop issued a statement stating that cast changes go hand-in-hand with curriculum and content changes. It was also stated that Sesame Workshop, even in its new pay-cable home, “retains sole creative control, while HBO “does not” have a hand in production decisions.

The retooled Sesame Street aired its Season 46 premiere on HBO this past January, running a “dynamic” 30 minutes (versus an hour) and offering a new episode every Saturday morning.

Sesame Workshop noted that the three “beloved cast members” “remain a part of the Sesame family” and as such “will continue to represent us at public events.”

(As originally reported by TVLine)

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