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Sesame Workshop Logo 2017

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During the winter of 1966, Joan Ganz Cooney hosted what she called "a little dinner party" at her apartment near Gramercy Park. Attending were her husband Tim Cooney, her boss Lewis Freedman, and Lloyd and Mary Morrisett, whom the Cooneys knew socially. Cooney was a producer of documentary films at New York public television station WNDT (now WNET), and won an Emmy for a documentary about poverty in America. Lloyd Morrisett was a vice-president at Carnegie Corporation, and was responsible for funding educational research, but had been frustrated in his efforts because they were unable to reach the large numbers of children in need of early education and intervention. Cooney was committed to using television to change society, and Morrisett was interested in using television to "reach greater numbers of needy kids". The conversation during the party, which according to writer Michael Davis was the start of a five-decade long professional relationship between Cooney and Morrisett, turned to the possibilities of using television to educate young children. A week later, Cooney and Freedman met with Morrisett at the office of Carnegie Corporation to discuss doing a feasibility study for creating an educational television program for preschoolers. Cooney was chosen to perform the study.

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