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Sun Nov 10, 2019, 09:26 AM

50 Years Ago Today: Sesame Street premiers on NET (soon to be PBS)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sesame_Street



Sesame Street is an American educational children's television series that combines live action, sketch comedy, animation and puppetry. It is produced by Sesame Workshop (known as the Children's Television Workshop (CTW) until June 2000) and was created by Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett. The program is known for its images communicated through the use of Jim Henson's Muppets, and includes short films, with humor and cultural references. The series premiered on November 10, 1969, to positive reviews, some controversy, and high viewership; it has aired on the U.S.'s national public television provider PBS since its debut, with its first run moving to premium channel HBO on January 16, 2016.

The format of Sesame Street consists of a combination of commercial television production elements and techniques which have evolved to reflect the changes in American culture and the audience's viewing habits. With the creation of Sesame Street, producers and writers of a children's television show used, for the first time, educational goals and a curriculum to shape its content. It was also the first time a show's educational effects were formally studied. The show, therefore, has undergone significant changes in its history as adjustments to the format and content have been made to reflect change sources to the curriculum.

Shortly after creating Sesame Street, its producers developed what came to be called the "CTW model" (after the production company's previous name), a system of television show planning, production, and evaluation based on collaborations between producers, writers, educators, and researchers. The show was initially funded by government and private foundations but has become somewhat self-supporting due to revenues from licensing arrangements, international sales, and other media. By 2006, there were independently produced versions, or "co-productions", of Sesame Street broadcast in twenty countries. In 2001, there were over 120 million viewers of various international versions of Sesame Street, and by the show's 40th anniversary in 2009, it was broadcast in more than 140 countries.

Sesame Street was by then the fifteenth-highest-rated children's television show in the United States. A 1996 survey found that 95% of all American preschoolers had watched the show by the time they were three years old. In 2018, it was estimated that 86 million Americans had watched the series as children. As of 2018, Sesame Street has won 189 Emmy Awards and 11 Grammy Awards, more than any other children's show.

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History
Sesame Street was conceived in 1966 during discussions between television producer Joan Ganz Cooney and Carnegie Foundation vice president Lloyd Morrisett. Their goal was to create a children's television show that would "master the addictive qualities of television and do something good with them", such as helping young children prepare for school. After two years of research, the newly formed Children's Television Workshop (CTW) received a combined grant of US$8 million ($55 million in 2018 dollars) from the Carnegie Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the U.S. Federal Government to create and produce a new children's television show. The program premiered on public television stations on November 10, 1969. It was the first preschool educational television program to base its contents and production values on laboratory and formative research. Initial responses to the show included adulatory reviews, some controversy, and high ratings. By its 50th anniversary in 2019, there were over 150 versions of Sesame Street, produced in 70 languages. As of 2006, 20 international versions had been produced.


Co-creator Joan Ganz Cooney in 1985


Lloyd Morrisett, co-creator

"I've always said of our original team that developed and produced Sesame Street: Collectively, we were a genius."
—Sesame Street creator Joan Ganz Cooney


According to writer Michael Davis, by the mid-1970s Sesame Street the show had become "an American institution". The cast and crew expanded during this time, with emphasis on the hiring of women crew members and the addition of minorities to the cast. The show's success continued into the 1980s. In 1981, when the federal government withdrew its funding, CTW turned to, and expanded, other revenue sources, including its magazine division, book royalties, product licensing, and foreign broadcast income. Sesame Street's curriculum has expanded to include more affective topics such as relationships, ethics, and emotions. Many of the show's storylines were taken from the experiences of its writing staff, cast, and crew, most notably, the 1982 death of Will Lee—who played Mr. Hooper—and the marriage of Luis and Maria in 1988.

By the end of the 1990s, Sesame Street faced societal and economic challenges, including changes in viewing habits of young children, competition from other shows, the development of cable television, and a drop in ratings. After the turn of the 21st century, Sesame Street made major structural changes. For example, starting in 2002, its format became more narrative and included ongoing storylines. After its thirtieth anniversary in 1999, due to the popularity of the Muppet Elmo the show also incorporated a popular segment known as "Elmo's World". In 2009, the show was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Emmy for its 40 years on the air.

In late 2015, in response to "sweeping changes in the media business", and as part of a five-year programming and development deal, premium television service HBO began airing first-run episodes of Sesame Street. Episodes became available on PBS stations and websites nine months after they aired on HBO. The deal allowed Sesame Workshop to produce more episodes, about 35 new episodes per season, compared to the 18 episodes per season it aired previously, and provided the opportunity to create a spinoff series with the Sesame Street Muppets and a new educational series.

As of the show's 50th anniversary in 2019, Sesame Street has produced over 4,500 episodes, 35 TV specials, 200 home videos, and 180 albums. Its YouTube channel has almost 5 million subscribers. It was announced in October 2019 that first-run episodes will move to HBO Max beginning with its 51st season in 2020.

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Sesame Street, Mr Rogers' Neighborhood, The Electric Company and Captain Kangaroo contributed to who I am today... oh, and with a healthy dose of Norman Lear!

to all!

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Reply 50 Years Ago Today: Sesame Street premiers on NET (soon to be PBS) (Original post)
Dennis Donovan Sunday OP
imavoter Sunday #1
Dennis Donovan Sunday #2
imavoter Sunday #3
Dennis Donovan Sunday #4
imavoter Sunday #5
Dennis Donovan Sunday #7
underpants Sunday #6
imavoter Sunday #8

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 09:32 AM

1. i just went to listen to the theme song from the early days

and it made me cry?
Awww why?

Must be happy memories. I was a toddler in the mid 70s.
Loved it.

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Response to imavoter (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 09:36 AM

2. I was going to link the song in, but I, too, had a lump in my throat...

We're living in perilous times. The simplicity of that touchstone of our youth is both comforting, and distressing from the perspective of now.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 09:50 AM

3. you know, something interesting

someone should do a study...

because a lot of the rural areas when we were growing up, in the 70s did not have PBS.
Most had 3 stations, if that at all.

I would like a study done on who watched Sesame Street and Mr Rogers, vs.
how they vote now.

My husband didn't have PBS in rural Texas. I would be curious to find the results.

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Response to imavoter (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 10:11 AM

4. *That* would be an eye-opener!

I was born and raised in the Finger Lakes, near Syracuse, and we had cable TV in 1966. I was 3 when Sesame Street (and Mr Rogers) premiered. My earliest recollections are of both of those shows (The Electric Company came a little later).

Then, Norman Lear took over as I gravitated to All In The Family (and subsequent spioffs) and Sandford and Son.

I am a liberal because TV helped me to be one, and my life experiences solidified that view.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 10:17 AM

5. he didn't have Mr. Rogers growing up

and I can't imagine my childhood without that saint.

I think I'm onto something here.

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Response to imavoter (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 10:18 AM

7. I do, too...

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 10:18 AM

6. Our local PBS station's address is 123 Sesame Street

I think other PBS stations have gotten the same address change.

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Response to underpants (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 10, 2019, 10:19 AM

8. cute n/t

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