Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

Only Men in Children's TV

Only Men in Children's TV

More From Joan

In this video

Tagged as

Cooney on how she made her way through a male-dominated industry by being "one of them" to avoid the "unraveling" woman role.

Joan's Biography

Childhood Ambition:A nun, a mother, or an opera singer

First Paying Job:A clerk typist in the State Department

The Best Medicine:"I would rather laugh than do anything in the world... So I watch Jon Stewart every night to get some laughs."

All-Time favorite Sesame Street Segment:Herry & John John Count 20

A founder of the Sesame Workshop and co-creator of Sesame Street, Joan Ganz Cooney knew that educational television was her calling the moment she walked into Channel 13. Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Cooney moved out east after college working as a publicist for the likes of RCA, NBC, and CBS's United States Steel Hour. It was at CBS when a colleague told her about educational television and her new career took off.
 
At a dinner party with Lloyd Morrisset, an executive at Carnegie Corporation, a conversation on whether children could learn from watching television spurned into a study on the topic funded by Carnegie Corporation and conducted by Cooney. The final report suggested a show like Sesame Street. With $8 million in funding, the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) was founded to produce the show. The first episode of Sesame Street premiered on PBS on November 10, 1969 to critical acclaim and high ratings, and after four decades remains a beloved children's television show.
 
Cooney was the first female non-performer to be inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame, was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton, was awarded an Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2007, the Sesame Workshop founded The Joan Ganz Cooney Center, named in her honor.

Related Videos

Andrea Jung
Andrea Jung
First Female CEO of AVON

A letter from Andrea Jung’s father sits on her desk at Avon, where she served as the cosmetic giant’s first female and longest-serving CEO. “Cultivate the absence...

Ruth Simmons
Ruth Simmons
First African-American Ivy League President

In 2001, Ruth Simmons made history when she became the first African-American president of an Ivy League university, as well as Brown University’s first female president. Pri...

Gong Li
Gong Li
Actor

Gong Li is a Chinese actor from Shandong, China. Li has been credited with bringing Chinese cinema to European and American audiences,, and has received numerous international acco...

Charlotte Bunch
Charlotte Bunch
International Women's Rights Activist

Women worldwide, “are routinely subject to torture, starvation, terrorism, humiliation, mutilation, and even murder simply because they are female,” wrote Charlotte Bun...