Three 'Prairie Home Companion' stalwarts leave as Chris Thile moves on from Keillor era

The last remaining members of Garrison Keillor's team have left the show.
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The last vestiges of Garrison Keillor's time on "A Prairie Home Companion" have left the stage, as three longtime cast members departed this week.

It was announced that musical director Rich Dworsky, voice actor Tim Russell, and sound effects expert Fred Newman are leaving MPR's "Live From Here with Chris Thile."

They were the three cast members still remaining from Keillor's time on "A Prairie Home Companion," a name American Public Media had to drop in favor of "Live from Here" after severing ties with Keillor in 2017 in the wake of inappropriate behavior allegations.

The trio won't be there when Thile's show returns to the airwaves on Oct. 6, with fresh faces taking their places.

Replacing Dworsky will be Mike Elizondo, a celebrated musician who co-wrote Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady," Carrie Underwood's "Cowboy Casanova" and 50 Cent's "In Da Club" (but don't hold that against him).

Also being brought on board is stand-up comic Mike Yard, a former contributor to Comedy Central's The Nightly Show with Larry Willmore who made a well-received guest appearance on the show last year.

Another addition writer and actor Greg Hess, who was created material for Comedy Central, Adult Swim and Funny or Die, as well as being a founding member of the Improvised Shakespeare Company.

And rounding out the new arrivals is Holly Laurent, a writer and actor whose TV credits include Drunk History, Key & Peele and The Late Late Show with James Corden.

The Star Tribune thinks the changes are "the clearest sign yet" that Thile's show is a different animal from Keillor's, focusing less on "cornball comedy sketches and more on the eclectic musical tastes" of Thile.

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"I’m beyond excited about the team we have this year," Thile said in a press release. "This show is a joy to make and I feel like that joy gets a little more infectious every week.

"The new mix of talent further energizes our celebration of hearable beauty and hilarity. We can’t wait to get in front of your ears this fall."

The changes come just two months after it was announced three more longtime "Prairie Home" staffers would be leaving, including Garrison Keillor's son Jason, as The Forum News Service reported.

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