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Joan Ganz Cooney

Joan Ganz Cooney

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Also Known As: Joan Ganz Died:
Born: November 30, 1929 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Phoenix, Arizona, USA Profession: producer, executive, publicist, journalist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The woman behind what many consider to be the most innovative educational programming in television history, Joan Ganz Cooney is the founder and chair of Children's Television Workshop (CTW), which has given the world "Sesame Street", "The Electric Company", "3-2-1 Contact" and "Ghostwriter" among many other series. A native of Phoenix, Joan Ganz started her career out of college as a journalist for the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Moving to Manhattan in the mid-1950s, she soon landed work as a publicist for NBC's soap operas and then shifted to more prestigious fare at CBS, where she helped to promote the anthology "U.S. Steel Hour". By the early 60s and now married to Timothy Cooney, she moved into producing, creating public affairs documentaries for NYC's public television station WNET, reaching an apotheosis with 1966's award-winning "Poverty, Anti-Poverty and the Poor". After serving as a consultant to the nonprofit Carnegie Corporation of New York where she issued the study "The Potential Uses of Television in Preschool Education", Cooney put her findings into action by founding CTW in 1968. The following year, under its auspices, "Sesame Street" was launched and forever altered the way youngsters...

The woman behind what many consider to be the most innovative educational programming in television history, Joan Ganz Cooney is the founder and chair of Children's Television Workshop (CTW), which has given the world "Sesame Street", "The Electric Company", "3-2-1 Contact" and "Ghostwriter" among many other series. A native of Phoenix, Joan Ganz started her career out of college as a journalist for the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Moving to Manhattan in the mid-1950s, she soon landed work as a publicist for NBC's soap operas and then shifted to more prestigious fare at CBS, where she helped to promote the anthology "U.S. Steel Hour". By the early 60s and now married to Timothy Cooney, she moved into producing, creating public affairs documentaries for NYC's public television station WNET, reaching an apotheosis with 1966's award-winning "Poverty, Anti-Poverty and the Poor". After serving as a consultant to the nonprofit Carnegie Corporation of New York where she issued the study "The Potential Uses of Television in Preschool Education", Cooney put her findings into action by founding CTW in 1968. The following year, under its auspices, "Sesame Street" was launched and forever altered the way youngsters learned. The series concentrated on making learning the alphabet and how to count fun and spawned local versions in over 80 countries around the world where Muppets like Big Bird, Elmo, Grover and the Cookie Monster delight and instruct pre-schoolers. CTW has also developed programming for older children like "The Electric Company" (1971-76), which focused on teaching older children how to read, as well as science programs like "3-2-1 Contact" and mathematics series such as "Square One TV". Whatever one may feel about its methods (some critics fault CTW for fostering short attention spans and its reliance on merchandising), Cooney and her organization have had a profound affect on small screen programming aimed at children.

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Milestones close milestones

:
Born and raised in Arizona
1953:
Worked as a journalist with the ARIZONA REPUBLIC after college
:
Moved to NYC
:
Worked as a publicist for NBC
1955:
Moved to CBS as publicist for "U S Steel Hour"; stayed with CBS for seven years
1962:
Began producing public affairs programming for WNET-TV in NYC
1966:
Produced the award-winning "Poverty, Anti-Poverty and the Poor"
:
Served as TV consultant to the Carnegie Corporation of New York
1968:
Founded Children's Television Workshop
1969:
Produced "Sesame Street"
1971:
Created "The Electric Company", a reading series for children ages eight to 12 (aired between 1971 and 1976)
:
Produced "3-2-1 Contact", a science program geared for pre-teens
:
Produced "Square One TV"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Arizona: Tucson , Arizona - 1951

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Timothy J Cooney. Married in 1964; divorced in 1975.
husband:
Peter Peterson. Former US Secretary of Commerce, former investment broker. Married in 1980.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Sylvan C Ganz.
mother:
Pauline Ganz.

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