Lloyd Morrisett

Executive, Sesame Workshop Co-founder


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, Lloyd Morrisett discusses his background in psychology and getting a job at the Carnegie Foundation. He talks of the programs he oversaw that sought to benefit underprivileged children and to overcome the education gap. He describes meeting Joan Ganz Cooney and how the two of them wondered whether television could be used to effectively teach children. Morrisett then outlines the research, proposal writing and massive fundraising carried out to create the groundbreaking series Sesame Street. He talks of how public funding differed under the Johnson and Nixon administrations, how Sesame Street originally aimed to be on commercial television, and how key Sesame Street personnel, (producer Dave Connell and puppeteer Jim Henson) came on board. Morrisett also discusses the formation of the Children's Television Workshop, the structure of the workshop's board, and why the group changed its name to the Sesame Workshop. He also speaks of his time at the Markel Foundation and as a board member for Tucows. Karen Herman conducted the interview on July 21, 2004 at the Sesame Workshop in New York, NY.

"Mickey Mouse, the way it was in the early days of Disney, is not as popular anymore. Whether or not we can keep 'Sesame Street' popular in the way we hope to, is a challenge. We don't know. We hope so. We believe we will be able to, but that's a challenge."

Highlights
Lloyd Morrisett on the formation of the Children's Television Workshop
01:30
Lloyd Morrisett on changing the name of the Children's Television Workshop to the Sesame Workshop
00:40
Lloyd Morrisett on the birth of Sesame Street
01:36
Lloyd Morrisett on getting Sesame Street on what we now know as public television
00:42
Lloyd Morrisett on merchandising for Sesame Street
03:45
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and influences; on growing up in New York and Los Angeles; on attending Oberlin College and going to grad school to study psychology
On getting his doctorate at Yale; on teaching; on working at the Social Science Research Council
On his early memories of television; on getting a job at the Carnegie Corporation; on heading programs that worked with underprivileged children and the educational gap
On the birth of Sesame Street

Chapter 2

On the ideas and people that led to the creation of Sesame Street; on funding a study headed by Joan Ganz Cooney to see whether television could be used to teach children; on the Public Broadcasting Laboratory
On convincing his colleagues to take a chance on Sesame Street; on fundraising for Sesame Street; on presenting to the Office of Education and receiving funding from the Ford Foundation
On trying to get Sesame Street on commercial broadcasting; on finding a home with educational television; on the early days of production on Sesame Street
On the "street" concept; on the Muppets and Jim Henson; on the first five episodes of Sesame Street

Chapter 3

On how Sesame Street was a product of its time; on how integral research was to the show; on early production on the show
On audience response to Sesame Street; on funding for a second season being different under the Nixon administration
On the formation of the Children's Television Workshop and its board; on changing its name to the Sesame Workshop; on merchandising
On challenges he faces as a Sesame Workshop board member; on developing new shows

Chapter 4

On the future of Sesame Workshop; on the success and impact of Sesame Street; on international programs based on Sesame Street
On the future of public television and television in general
On working for the Markel Foundation; on serving on the board of Tucows
On his legacy within the Sesame Workshop
Shows

Sesame Street

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Lloyd Morrisett on the birth of Sesame Street
01:36
Lloyd Morrisett on the research and efforts that went into creating Sesame Street
07:07
Lloyd Morrisett on fundraising to get Sesame Street made and trying to get it on the air
12:38
Lloyd Morrisett on the early days of production on Sesame Street
08:09
Lloyd Morrisett on how Sesame Street was a product of its time
02:27
Lloyd Morrisett on how integral research was to Sesame Street
03:28
Lloyd Morrisett on early production on Sesame Street
00:51
Lloyd Morrisett on audience reaction to Sesame Street
01:29
Lloyd Morrisett on funding for a second season of Sesame Street
05:00
Lloyd Morrisett on the future of Sesame Workshop and the success and impact of Sesame Street
01:57
Topics

Richard M. Nixon

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Lloyd Morrisett on on funding for a second season of Sesame Street being different under the Nixon administration
03:11

Television and the Presidency

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Lloyd Morrisett on on funding for a second season of Sesame Street being different under the Nixon administration
03:11
Genres

Children's Programming

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Lloyd Morrisett on the birth of Sesame Street
Lloyd Morrisett on the research and efforts that went into creating Sesame Street
07:07
Lloyd Morrisett on fundraising to get Sesame Street made and trying to get it on the air
12:38
Lloyd Morrisett on the early days of production on Sesame Street
08:09
Lloyd Morrisett on how Sesame Street was a product of its time
02:27
Lloyd Morrisett on research and early production on Sesame Street
04:19
Lloyd Morrisett on funding for a second season of Sesame Street
05:00
Lloyd Morrisett on the future of Sesame Workshop and the success and impact of Sesame Street
01:57
People

Dave Connell

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Lloyd Morrisett on Dave Connell producing Sesame Street
00:50

Joan Ganz Cooney

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Lloyd Morrisett on meeting Joan Ganz Cooney and attending the dinner party that posed the question of whether or not television could be used to teach children
05:56
Lloyd Morrisett on Linda Gottlieb helping Joan Ganz Cooney write the proposal for Sesame Street
03:25

Michael Dann

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Lloyd Morrisett on Michael Dann's interest in Sesame Street and suggesting producers for the show
02:05

Lewis Freedman

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Lloyd Morrisett on meeting Joan Ganz Cooney, and Lewis Freedman attending the dinner party that posed the question of whether or not television could be used to teach children
03:48

Linda Gottlieb

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Lloyd Morrisett on Linda Gottlieb helping Joan Ganz Cooney write the proposal for Sesame Street
03:25

Jim Henson

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Lloyd Morrisett on how Jim Henson was brought on board for Sesame Street
00:35

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