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Posts Tagged ‘Joan Ganz Cooney’

Reflections of TV Pioneer Joan Ganz Cooney as WNET Prepares for 50th Anniversary

Joan Ganz Cooney may not be a household name. But Joan Ganz Cooney revolutionized viewing habits from toddlers to teens. Cooney is co-founder of the Children’s Television Workshop, a mainstay on Channel 13 since its launch in 1969. It is a perfect inclusion to FishbowlNY’s special series of interviews and posts dedicated to WNET’s 50th anniversary.

The CTW was producing programming solely for public television. Like national syndication today, it was made available for public TV stations across the country. The first show that Cooney and her CTW employees created was Sesame Street.

While each station made the decision when to air Sesame Street, Cooney had strong views for the start time.

“I didn’t want it in competition with Captain Kangaroo [8 a.m. on CBS], the only other quality children’s show at the time,” Cooney says.

To avoid the “Captain’s wrath,” CTW was encouraging PBS stations to air Sesame Street at either 7 a.m. or 9 a.m.

WNDT, (the original call letters of WNET), was not as accommodating. In a rarely remembered tibdit, Sesame Street actually had its debut on WPIX/Channel 11.

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Lunch at Michael’s: Presidential Politics & Brian Grazer

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The media mavens, captains of industry and money men were out in full force today where a heaping helping of presidential politics were on the menu. Mayor Joe Armstrong, fresh off his latest trip to Paul Newman‘s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp hosted one of his legendary lunches where his guests were Robert Draper, GQ writer and author of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush (Free Press), political pundit Jonathan Alter (who deconstructed FDR’s first 100 days in his book, The Defining Moment) and Joan Ganz Cooney. “There are some explosive things in Robert’s book!” says Joe. No doubt. On the other side of the aisle, I learned a fun fact about Estee Lauder’s Sally Susman who stopped to chat with me at the bar. Before she became a beauty bigwig she worked at the White House. Which one? I asked. “The only one,” she quipped. “The Clinton White House!” Of course. Coincidently, Sally was lunching with another Clinton alum, Internet exec. Margo Spiritus, who now toils as Pingg Interactive’s vice president of marketing. Turns out 55th & Fifth is a must-stop on the campaign trial. Are you listening Hillary & Barack?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Mayor Joe Armstrong and the gang.

2. Gerry Byrne.

3. Terry Allen Kramer and her son, who, we hear, made the scene at the US Open this weekend.

4. Viacom’s Philippe Dauman.

5. 60 MinutesSteve Croft, Brian Grazer (thanks to his distinctive ‘do we spotted him immediately) and a fetching mystery gal. We wanted to ask Brian about the upcoming season of 24 which, we’re told, has Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) matching wits with the first female president. But since he kept his back to the room throughout lunch, we abstained.

6. Luke Janklow (loved the charming photos of your family at home in this month’s Vogue!), Michael Soloman and designer Liz Lange.

7. An exec. from Satellite Radio XM, so we’re told…

8. George Leeds and Estee Lauder’s Lew Rice.

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