JG
Joan Ganz Cooney

Joan Ganz Cooney

Joan Ganz Cooney (born Joan Ganz) is an American television producer. She is one of the founders of Sesame Workshop (formerly Children's Television Workshop or CTW), the organization famous for the creation of the children's television show Sesame Street, which was also co-created by her. Cooney grew up in Phoenix and earned a B.A. degree in education from the University of Arizona in 1951. After working for the State Department in Washington, D.C. and as a journalist in Phoenix, she worked as a publicist for television and production companies in New York City. In 1961, she became interested in working for educational television, and became a documentary producer for New York's first educational TV station WNET (Channel 13). Many of the programs she produced won local Emmys. In 1966, Cooney hosted what she called "a little dinner party" at her apartment near Gramercy Park. In attendance was her then-husband Tim Cooney, her boss Lewis Freedman, and Lloyd Morrisett, an executive at the Carnegie Corporation, in which the potential of television to teach young children was discussed. Cooney was chosen to oversee and direct the creation of what eventually became the children's television program Sesame Street, which premiered in 1969, and the CTW, the organization that oversaw its production. Cooney was named CTW's first executive director. As one of the first female executives in American television, her appointment was called "one of the most important television developments of the decade". Cooney remained executive director of the CTW until 1990 when she became the chair of CTW's executive board. She served on different boards, was the trustees of many organizations, and received many awards and honorary degrees. In 2007, the Sesame Workshop founded The Joan Ganz Cooney Center, named in her honor.
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Producer