Series Recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming
Boston (September 14, 2020) MOLLY OF DENALI, the PBS KIDS series produced by Boston public media producer, GBH, has been presented with the 2020 Television Critics Association award for “Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming” during the 2019 season. The series, which premiered nationwide in July 2019 and airs on PBS stations nationwide, the 24/7 PBS KIDS channel and PBS KIDS digital platforms, has received critical acclaim as the first nationally-distributed children’s series to feature a Native American lead character.
The 2020 TCA Awards put the spotlight on an eclectic roster of television content spanning a variety of platforms and genres, with more than 200 professional television critics and journalists from the United States and Canada voting for programming showcased on broadcast, cable and streaming outlets. In 2019, ARTHUR, another PBS KIDS series produced by GBH was honored for their “Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming.”
MOLLY OF DENALI follows the adventures of curious and resourceful 10-year-old Molly Mabray, an Alaska Native girl who lives in the fictional village of Qyah, Alaska. Molly helps her Mom and Dad run the Denali Trading Post - a general store, bunkhouse, and transport hub - where she assists tourists, trekkers and scientists, and sometimes rides along in Mom's bush plane or makes deliveries via dog sled.
“MOLLY OF DENALI is a story about kids and community, an authentic reflection of rural life in Alaska, supported by an Informational Text curriculum,” said GBH Executive Producer Dorothea Gillim. “Over the past year, the animated series, podcast and games have been embraced by audiences everywhere. We are grateful to the Television Critics Association for recognizing MOLLY OF DENALI with this honor.”
From the outset, GBH developed MOLLY OF DENALI with a group of Alaska Native collaborators, as well as Alaska Native voice talent, writers, musicians and producers. Over 60 Alaska Native voices were included 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). With funding through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a scriptwriting fellowship for Alaska Native writers was created. Molly’s 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. Throughout the production of MOLLY OF DENALI, GBH worked to ensure that Alaska Native cultures, values and traditions were depicted accurately and respectfully.
“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.”
Informational Text, the pioneering curriculum in MOLLY OF DENALI, is 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.
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, the podcast is a first from GBH, in partnership with PRX and Gen-Z Media.
MOLLY OF DENALI has a reach of over 41 million people, including over 710,000 Indigenous/ Alaska Native viewers. MOLLY OF DENALI has also had over 113 million streams, 4.2 million podcast video streams and more than 21 million games played online and via the PBS KIDS Games app.*
* Sources: Nielsen NPOWER L+7, July 2019-June 2020, MOLLY OF DENALI series and premiere, P2+, 50% unif, 1+ min; Google Analytics, 5/1/19-6/30/20; Podcast: 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 is co-produced by GBH and its animation partner, Atomic Cartoons, in association with CBC Kids. Funding for MOLLY OF DENALI™ is provided by a Ready To Learn Grant from the U.S. Department of Education; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American People; and by public television viewers. Additional funding made possible with the participation of the Province of British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit. Corporate funding provided by the T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan and IKEA Retail U.S..
Alaska Native collaborators: 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.
GBH is the leading multiplatform creator for public media in America. As the largest producer of content for PBS and partner to NPR and PRX, GBH delivers compelling experiences, stories and information to audiences wherever they are. GBH produces digital and broadcast programming that engages, illuminates and inspires, through drama and science, history, arts, culture and journalism. It is the creator of such signature programs as MASTERPIECE, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, FRONTLINE, NOVA, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, Arthur and Molly of Denali, as well as WORLD Channel and a catalog of streaming series, podcasts and on-demand video. With studios and a newsroom headquartered in Boston, GBH reaches across New England with GBH 89.7, Boston’s Local NPR®; CRB Classical 99.5; and CAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® station. Dedicated to making media accessible to and inclusive of our diverse culture, GBH is a pioneer in delivering media to those who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired. GBH creates curriculum-based digital content for educators nationwide with PBS LearningMedia and has been recognized with hundreds of the nation’s premier broadcast, digital and journalism awards. 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.