Sesame Workshop — formerly Children's Television Workshop (CTW) — is the producer and sole proprietor of Sesame Street.
CTW was founded in 1968 by Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett as a non-profit corporation whose original purpose was to develop and produced an educational television show for preschool children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Michael Davis writes in Street Gang that "Regal twin portraits of Morrisett and Joan Cooney adorn the entranceway to the Workshop's corporate offices at One Lincoln Plaza...", underscoring Morrisett's importance as co-founder of the Workshop.
The first show that CTW produced was Sesame Street, which proved hugely successful. The Carnegie Corporation, the US Office of Education, and Ford Foundation provided the initial funding for the project. A few years after the success of Sesame Street, The Jim Henson Company worked with the company to develop another series, The Affect Show. However, The Affect Show didn't get past planning stages.
In 1999, the Children's Television Workshop, along with Nickelodeon, a division of MTV Networks owned by Viacom, launched a kids' channel called Noggin, featuring many classic kids' shows from both companies. Sesame Workshop later sold its half of the channel to Viacom on August 7, 2002.
In 2000, the Children's Television Workshop changed its name to Sesame Workshop; by then, the company had expanded beyond television. In concert with this name change, Sesame Workshop began to eliminate all references to CTW, such as cutting out the references in Sesame Street's closing credits and replacing all the old CTW logos on TV with the current Sesame Workshop animated logo, and replacing the "CTW" on the Sesame Street sign with "123". In December of the same year, The Jim Henson Company (then under ownership of the German media firm, EM.TV) sold the rights to the Sesame Street Muppets for $180 million, giving Sesame Workshop full ownership of the Sesame Street Muppets. Prior to the sale, The Jim Henson Company had owned the rights to the characters, but split revenue generated from merchandise with Sesame Workshop. When EM.TV put The Jim Henson Company up for sale in 2003, Sesame Workshop was one of the bidders for the property with Classic Media via bankrolled funds provided by Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Sesame Workshop runs a critically acclaimed website, sesameworkshop.org. In late 2007, the organization launched the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, "to catalyze and support research, innovation and investment in digital media technologies to advance children's learning."
- Joan Ganz Cooney, Co-Founder & Chairman of the Executive Committee
- Lloyd Morrisett, Co-Founder & Chairman Emeritus of the Board Sesame Workshop
- Jeffrey Dunn, President and CEO
- Daryl Mintz, Chief Financial Officer
- Steve Youngwood, Chief Operating Officer
- Joseph Salvo, Vice President and General Counsel
- Sherrie Westin, Vice President of Global Impact and Philanthropy
- Brown Johnson, Vice President and Creative Director
- Stephanie Longardo, Vice President of Production Management
- Tanya Haider, Vice President of Strategy, Research and Ventures
- Rosemarie Truglio, Vice President of Curriculum and Content
- Jeanette Betancourt, Vice President of Outreach and Educational Practices
- Jennifer Kotler Clarke, Vice President of Content Research and Evaluation
- Diana Lee, Vice President of Human Resources
In addition to Sesame Street, CTW/Sesame Workshop has developed several other properties:
- The Electric Company — 1971-1977, and a reboot from 2009-2011
- 3-2-1 Contact — 1980-1988
- Square One TV — 1987-1992
- Ghostwriter — 1992-1995
- Big Bag — 1996-1998
- Dragon Tales — 1999-2005
- Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat — 2001-2003 (based on the book by Amy Tan)
- Tiny Planets — 2001-2002
- Pinky Dinky Doo — 2005-2011
- The Upside Down Show — 2006
- Sesame Studios — 2016-
- Esme & Roy — 2018-
- Helpsters — 2019-
- "CTW changes name to Sesame Workshop" Reuters June 5, 2000
- "Sesame Workshop gains character control from EM.TV" Press Release, December 4, 2000
- "Muppets Home with the Family" The Hollywood Reporter by Scott Roxborough and Cynthia Littleton, May 8, 2003