Cooney, Joan Ganz

Cooney, Joan Ganz,

1929–, American television producer, b. Phoenix, Ariz. After graduating (1951) from the Univ. of Arizona, Cooney worked as a newspaper reporter and television publicist for ten years before becoming a producer at WNET, a public television station in New York City. There she developed the concepts for children's programming that led to the incorporation (1968) of the Children's Television Workshop (CTW; since 2000, Sesame Workshop); Cooney was its president from 1970 to 1990. Through Sesame Street, Electric Company, and other innovative programs, CTW transformed children's television and learning. Cooney was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995.


See D. Kamp, Sunny Days: The Children's Television Revolution That Changed America (2020).

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Cooney, Joan Ganz

(1929–  ) television executive; born in Phoenix, Ariz. After working as a teacher, she became a newspaper reporter in Arizona, then a National Broadcasting Company publicist (1954–62) before producing documentaries for public television (1962–67). She created Public Broadcasting System's Seasame Street (1968) for preschoolers. As president of the Children's Television Workshop (1970–88), then chairperson, she produced other children's educational programs including The Electric Company, 3,2,1 Contact and Square One TV.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.