Children's television is nearly as old as television itself, with early American examples including live broadcast shows such as Howdy Doody[?], Bozo The Clown[?] and The Mickey Mouse Club[?]. These shows typically featured performers, clowns, or puppet characters performing in front of a live audience of children. Several also featured child performers. Early children's television was often a marketing branch of a larger corporate product such as Disney, and rarely contained an educational element. Though there is some debate on the intended audience, later non-educational children's television programs included the science fiction programs of Irwin Allen[?] (most notably Lost In Space), the fantasy series of Sid and Marty Krofft, and the extensive cartoon empire of Hanna-Barbera.
Children's television took a dramatic turn in 1969 with the creation of the visionary PBS program Sesame Street. Still in production over thirty years later, Sesame Street is an educational program produced by the Children's Television Workshop (now called Sesame Workshop) and featuring Jim Henson's Muppets. The show blends human and puppet characters, animation, song and dance, and colorful production numbers with basic educational material oriented for children anywhere from toddler to six. It is on this television show that many children of the world are first exposed to things like basic math and language skills, as well as social skills and multiculturality. The effect of Sesame Street was so powerful that within a few years, children's television was universally considered to have an educational mandate.
Many children's shows also have a large adult following, sometimes in appreciation of their quality and educational value, and sometimes among adults who watched the shows as children or with their own children and now have a nostalgic emotional connection.
There follows a partial list of television shows for children that have received particular recognition or popularity:
United States television: