Sesame Workshop, formerly known as the Children's Television Workshop, is a worldwide American non-profit organization behind the production of several educational children's programs, including its first and most well-known, Sesame Street, that have run on public broadcasting around the world. Television producer Joan Ganz Cooney and foundation executive Lloyd Morrisett came up with the idea to form an organization to oversee the production of Sesame Street, which would, through the medium of television, help prepare children, especially those from low-income families, for school. They spent two years, from 1966 to 1968, researching, developing, and raising money for the new show. Cooney was named as the Workshop's first executive director, which was called "one of the most important television developments of the decade".
Sesame Street premiered on PBS in November 1969, and the Workshop was formally incorporated shortly after, in 1970. Gerald S. Lesser and Edward L. Palmer were hired to conduct research for the show; they were responsible for developing a system of planning, production, and evaluation, and the interaction between television producers and educators, later called the "CTW model". They also hired a staff of producers and writers. After the initial success of Sesame Street, they began to plan for its continued survival, which included procuring additional sources of funding and creating other TV shows. The 1980s was a challenging period for the Workshop; difficulty finding audiences for their other productions and a series of bad investments hurt them until licensing agreements stabilized their revenues by 1985.