Sesame Street Begins 50 years and Counting
Landmark anniversary to unfold throughout the year with new initiatives, community events, and a star-studded primetime special
(NEW YORK, NY, February 4, 2019): It all began in 1969 on a street where colorful Muppets and humans lived—and learned—side by side. Today, 50 years later, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, announced a yearlong anniversary celebration to mark the occasion. Throughout 2019, Sesame Workshop will bring people together around the timeless lessons that Sesame Street has always taught: everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from, is equally deserving of respect, opportunity—and joy.
Set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement and the war on poverty, Sesame Street was created to answer a simple question: could television be used to level the playing field and help prepare less advantaged children for school? The founders tapped educational advisors and researchers, entertainers and television producers, and other visionaries to create what became the longest-running children’s show in American television history. Ever since, Sesame Street has helped children around the world to learn, feel included and respect others. With a curriculum that evolves to meet the needs of every new generation, it is now a force for good in over 70 languages and 150 countries.
“This is a remarkable milestone for kids, for education and for television. Sesame Street has now brought the life-changing benefits of early learning to children around the globe for 50 years,” said Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder knows no geographic boundaries. We’re everywhere families are and we never stop innovating and growing. That’s what keeps us timeless.”
The anniversary will bring people together through social impact initiatives, digital campaigns, and community events that reflect Sesame Street’s unifying messages. Throughout 2019, fans and families around the world can join their favorite furry friends in celebrating Sesame Street’s past, present, and future, with:
- A 50th television season which focuses on the power of possibilities, empowering kids to take safe risks and learn from their mistakes.
- A nationwide road trip where Sesame Street characters and friends host community events in ten cities around the country.
- An expansion of the growing Sesame Street in Communities initiative, addressing issues including substance abuse and foster care to better support vulnerable children and families.
- The launch of a new local version of Sesame Street created for displaced Syrian families and their new neighbors in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, as part of a large-scale early childhood intervention in the region.
- A signature research report that will explore an important issue facing kids and families today.
- Celebrity- and fan-fueled social media campaigns including #ThisIsMyStreet, showcasing favorite Sesame Street memories.
- New collaborations across fashion, lifestyle, and themed entertainment for Sesame Street fans of all ages.
- A November star-studded prime-time special, featuring new takes on classic segments and visits from Sesame Street icons.
“We’re often asked what Sesame Street’s legacy will be,” said Joan Ganz Cooney, Co-Founder. “To me, a legacy is when something’s over…and this isn’t over.”
“Sesame Street had a profound impact on children’s media, setting a template that the industry has followed for generations,” said Lloyd Morrisett, Co-founder. “Fifty years later, Sesame Workshop continues to deliver on its mission every day, across multiple platforms, on six continents. We started as an experiment - and it worked.”
Sesame Workshop will release details about upcoming events and activities throughout the year. In the meantime, Sesame friends and fans can always stay in touch on sesameworkshop.org.
Sesame Street 50th Anniversary Highlight Reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wbkcz2y96nQ
About Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the pioneering television show that has been reaching and teaching children since 1969. Today, Sesame Workshop is an innovative force for change, with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. We’re active in more than 150 countries, serving vulnerable children through a wide range of media, formal education, and philanthropically-funded social impact programs, each grounded in rigorous research and tailored to the needs and cultures of the communities we serve. For more information, please visit sesameworkshop.org.