56. SESAME STREET 

Created by Joan Ganz Cooney  

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Aired: PBS, 1969-Present

Simply put, the show’s continual inventiveness and impact as an educational tool – forged via the runaway popularity of the Muppets – changed the landscape of children’s television. Joan Ganz Cooney was a children’s television producer in New York City when, with government funding, she founded the Children’s Television Workshop. Sesame Street was born of her belief that kids programming ought to be more forward-thinking and fun. "I wanted this show to jump and move fast and feel and sound like 1969, because kids are turned on visually!" Cooney is quoted as saying on the show’s Web site. Cooney’s creative team included Frank Oz, Jon Stone (a former producer on Captain Kangaroo who became the show’s first head writer), and the master puppeteer Jim Henson. Sesame Street, when it debuted, was banned from the air in Mississippi due to its interracial cast.

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