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"Sesame Street" Welcomes New Latino Neighbor

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It’s time for fans of Sesame Street to roll out the welcoming mat. A new neighbor, Armando, is moving into the neighborhood and he’s bringing a dose of cultural diversity along with him.

The popular PBS children’s show announced Friday on ABC's Good Morning America that Armando, a writer, will make his debut on Sept. 16, when Sesame Street premieres its 44th season on PBS KIDS.

“Mando,” as he will be known to his new neighbors like Cookie Monster, Elmo, Bert and Ernie, will join Maria (played by Sonia Manzano), Luis (Emilio Delgado) and Muppets Rosita and Ovejita (Carmen Osbahr) as part of the show’s bilingual community.

Armando will be played by actor Ismael Cruz Cordova, a native of Puerto Rico who holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and has starred in shows like The Good Wife.

Cordova won the role in a high-profile search by Sesame Street for a new character actor that began in August 2012 when hundreds of hopefuls came out to the show’s first-ever open casting call held in New York City in their search for a new, diverse character.

“I am honestly still in shock,” Cordova said in a release from Sesame Street announcing his new role.  “I am incredibly proud to be a part of a show that acknowledges and celebrates diversity so whole-heartedly and am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to represent Latino-Americans on Sesame Street.”

Sesame Street fans can get to know “Mando” this summer, before his premiere, and in the fall, once he’s moved onto Sesame Street, through the show’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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