I don't think that's really the case. Sesame Street is more famous for the Muppet characters than anything else. We didn't see Christmas shopping rocked by "Tickle Me 40 Dots" or "Sing and Snore film about picking Peas." "Scaling back" doesn't mean "doing away with." Just more of a focus on specific characters that are essential to the show. And so far looking at the new theme song, it just seems to be the main characters they've had for the past few seasons. I'm sure other characters like Telly and Baby Bear will be pushed to the side. And that sucks because Telly finally started getting some market recognition as of late.I've seen that video before, that was pretty sweet of them.
But in light of the recent news that's just been released regarding the serious scaling back of Muppet characters appearing on the street, I really have a feeling that this is what Joey meant when he said he fought hard for the "heart and soul" for the show; after all, why did those five test pilots fail? Because of a lack of Muppets: test audiences were really only interested in the Ernie and Bert inserts, and before hand, the producers were advised not to mix fantasy and reality, but after the test pilots flopped, the decided to mix fantasy and reality. Big Bird and Oscar were created specifically as Muppets to interact with the humans on the street, and soon more Muppets were to follow. Now they're scaling back on them. I'm almost certain that this is the reason why Joey decided to leave.
And I'm of two minds here. They were really starting to bring back some older characters and making them part of the show again (still don't see why Tyler didn't get to continue his handling of Herry, he was doing a good job in that one clip outside of the show), but on the other hand, they've been using too many non-original Sesame Street characters (yeah, the fairy tale ones) to illustrate points that easily could have used their own classic characters. I'd much rather see an episode with Zoe and Elmo solving their own problems than sitting by watching some spastic one shot and being on he sidelines. So if that brings a shift in focus back to original Muppet characters, that's a good thing.
I don't think they'd get rid of Murray completely this season, just limiting the block format and hosting duties. I wouldn't be surprised if that's a factor of many in Joey leaving. Not so much that he performs Murray, but rather that those projects seemed to be his major contribution as a show runner. And while I had some issues with the block format and hosted segments, I rather liked taking a character out of the studio, putting him in the real world, and giving an added level of realness to the character. Look at how hands on Murray gets in the "Murray had a little Lamb" segments. They don't use real cookies on the Cookie Monster puppet due to the mess and ware. Yet they let Murray paint, play with clay, kneed dough... they weren't afraid of getting his hands dirty, and that's what made those special. I admit the number and letter songs aren't half as impressive as Murray being outside presenting the segments (especially visually... plain white backdrop vs. actual film on location).It doesn't even look like they're getting rid of Murray based on the presskit