Series Renowned for its Representation and Inclusion
Boston (June 11, 2020) The critically-acclaimed television series MOLLY OF DENALI has been recognized with a 2020 George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting in 2019. The PBS KIDS series, produced by WGBH Boston, premiered nationwide in July 2019, and airs on PBS stations, the 24/7 PBS KIDS channel and PBS KIDS digital platforms. Each year, the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors honors the most powerful, enlightening, and invigorating stories in television, radio and digital media.
This Peabody is awarded to the first nationally distributed children’s series to feature a Native American lead character at a time when the public dialogue about representation and inclusion is a focus across America. As communities and institutions are challenged to respect differences, MOLLY OF DENALI’s TV and digital programming, podcast, and games include Alaska Native values, such as respecting others, sharing what you have and honoring your elders. MOLLY OF DENALI also showcases contemporary aspects of rural life, including strong female role models the ways technology aids in communication.
“Molly of Denali’s animated series, podcast and games have been embraced by audiences everywhere,” said WGBH Executive Producer Dorothea Gillim. “We are grateful to the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors for this honor.
MOLLY OF DENALI involves Alaska Native voices in all aspects of the production, both on screen and behind the scenes. Every Indigenous character is voiced by an Indigenous actor, including Molly, voiced by Alaska Native Sovereign Bill (Tlingit and Muckleshoot). WGBH Boston developed the project with an Alaska Native working group, and with funding through CPB, created a scriptwriting fellowship for Alaska Native writers. Its theme song is sung by Phillip Blanchett and Karina Moeller of the Yupik Alaska Native band Pamyua, with the Athabascan fiddle and traditional drum played by Gwich’in musician Brennan Firth.
Molly has clearly connected with audiences across the U.S., with a reach of nearly 40 million people, including over 700,000 Indigenous/Alaska Native viewers. It has had over 107 million streams, 4.2 million podcast video streams and more than 17 million games played online and via the PBS KIDS Games app.*
“The stories we tell through Molly of Denali are a reflection of the heart and values of Alaska Native peoples -- our truths, our histories, and our experience,” said Princess Daazhraii Johnson (Neest’aii Gwich’in), Creative Producer of the series. “Through Molly we get to show that we are still here, and we have so much to say about how we live respectfully with one another and the lands, waters and animals we share this world with.”
With the MOLLY OF DENALI Podcast, kids and families can experience the early adventures of Molly and her friends in an eight-part podcast series. Drawing on Native storytelling to introduce Molly and her home, podcast is a first from WGBH, in partnership with PRX and Gen-Z Media.
MOLLY OF DENALI is grounded in a pioneering curriculum focused on informational text, a foundational aspect of literacy education. Informational texts are designed to convey information and can include written words, images, graphics, video and oral language. In every episode, Molly navigates her world and solves problems with the help of books, online resources, field guides, historical documents, maps, tables, posters, photos, Indigenous knowledge from elders, her very own vlog and more.
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* Sources: Nielsen NPOWER L+SD, July 2019-May 2020, Molly of Denali series and premiere, P2+, 50% unif, 1+ min,; Google Analytics, 5/1/19-5/31/20
MOLLY OF DENALI has been developed as part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS Ready To Learn Initiative with funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The Ready To Learn Initiative brings educational television and digital media resources to children ages 2-8, and aims to promote early science and literacy learning, with an emphasis on supporting children from underserved communities.
The series is co-produced by WGBH Boston and its animation partner, Atomic Cartoons, in association with CBC Kids. MOLLY OF DENALI is developed and produced with funding from CPB, the Department of Education’s Ready To Learn Grant, public television viewers and the Province of British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit. Corporate funding is provided by Homer, the T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan and IKEA Retail U.S.
Alaska Native working group: Adeline P. Raboff, Dewey Kk’ołeyo Hoffman, Luke Titus and Rochelle Adams. Language Advisors: Adeline P. Raboff, Lance X’unei Twitchell, Lorraine David, Marie Meade and Marjorie Tahbone. Informational text advisor: Nell K. Duke, University of Michigan.
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public media organization, the largest producer of PBS content for television and the Web and a major supplier of content for public radio and digital audio services. WGBH is a leader in educational multimedia with PBS LearningMedia, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content, and a pioneer in services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences. WGBH programs have been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. Find more information at wgbh.org.
About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers children ages 2-8 the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, digital media, and community-based programs. PBS KIDS and local stations across the country support the entire ecosystem in which children learn, including their teachers, parents and community. Provided by stations, the free PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and live stream is available to more than 95% of U.S. TV households. Kidscreen- and Webby Award-winning pbskids.org provides engaging interactive content, including digital games and streaming video. PBS KIDS offers mobile apps to help support young children’s learning, including the PBS KIDS Video app, which is available on a variety of mobile devices and on platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Samsung TV and Chromecast. PBS KIDS also offers parent and teacher resources to support children’s learning anytime and anywhere. For more information, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of nearly 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org and follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook and LinkedIn, and subscribe for email updates.
About The Ready To Learn Initiative The Ready To Learn Initiative is a cooperative agreement funded and managed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement. It supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted to preschool and early elementary school children and their families. Its general goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, with a particular interest in reaching low-income children. In addition to creating television and other media products, the program supports activities intended to promote national distribution of the programming, effective educational uses of the programming, community-based outreach and research on educational effectiveness.
The contents of this series were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. The project is funded by a Ready To Learn grant (PR/AWARD No. U295A150003, CFDA No. 84.295A) provided by the Department of Education to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.