Sesame Street is an American children's television series created by Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett. The program is known for its combination of Jim Henson's Muppets, animation, short films, humor, and cultural references. The program was conceived in 1966 during discussions between Cooney and Morrisett. The series premiered on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) stations on November 10, 1969 to positive reviews, some controversy, and high ratings.
The show has gone through significant changes throughout its history. The format of Sesame Street consisted of a combination of commercial television production elements and educational techniques, and has changed throughout the show's history to reflect the changes in American culture and their audience's viewing habits. It was the first time the producers and writers of a children's television show used educational goals and a curriculum to shape its content. It was also the first time its educational effects on young children were studied, and the first time both summative and formative research was used to change the show's content.
Shortly after creating Sesame Street, its producers began to develop what came to be called "the CTW model", a system of planning, production, and evaluation, along with a collaboration between the producers, writers, and researchers. The show was initially funded by government and private foundations, but moved to being more self-supportive by depending upon revenues from licensing arrangements, international sales, and other media for their funding. By 2006, there were independently produced versions, or "co-productions", of Sesame Street in twenty countries. In 2001 there were over 120 million viewers of all international versions of Sesame Street and by the show's 40th anniversary in 2009, they were seen in more than 140 countries.
By its 40th anniversary in 2009, Sesame Street was 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 2008, it was estimated that 77 million Americans had watched the series as children. As of 2009, Sesame Street has won eight Grammy Awards and 118 Emmy Awards—more than any other children's show.
Source: Wikipedia, "Sesame Street", available under the CC-BY-SA License.