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Sesame Street fires Bob, Gordon and Luis — among last of original cast members

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NEW YORK — A veteran star of "Sesame Street" is saying Thursday's story is brought to you by the letter "F" — for "fired."

Bob McGrath, who has played "Bob" on the long running series since 1969, recently told an audience at Florida Supercon that he "has been graciously let go" from the show, along with Roscoe Orman, who played Gordon, and Emilio Delgado, who played Luis.

Left to right: 'Sesame Street' hosts Matt Robinson (Gordon), Will Lee (Mr. Hooper) Loretta Long (Susan) and Bob McGrath (Bob) stand with Big Bird in a promotional still on the set of the educational public television series, circa 1969. (Photo by Children's Television Workshop/Courtesy of Getty Images)

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

"HBO has gotten involved also," he added. "And so they let all of the original cast members go, with the exception of Alan Muraoka [who plays Alan, the owner of Hooper's store], who is still on the show and who is probably 20 years younger than the rest of us, and Chris Knowings [who plays Chris], who is also young and they are terrific, wonderful people."

McGrath's comments were first reported on "The Muppet Cast" podcast.

Sesame Street released the following statement on the firings:

It's been a rough year overall for fans who love the veteran characters of "Sesame Street."

In July 2015 Sonia Manzano, who had played shop owner Maria — Luis' wife — on the PBS series for almost 45 years, announced she was retiring.

The series' move to HBO was announced last year. New episodes will air on the premium cable channel and then appear on the free airwaves months later.