PBS Kids to Launch New Show with Alaska Native Lead Character


PBS Kids is debuting across the U.S. this summer Molly of Denali, a new animated series featuring an Alaska Native main character.

Molly of Denali is an action-adventure comedy that is the first nationally distributed kids’ series to feature an Alaska Native as the lead character. The show will premiere this summer across the country on PBS stations, the 24/7 PBS Kids channel and PBS Kids digital platforms.

Produced by WGBH Boston, the show follows the adventures of 10-year-old Molly Mabray. Molly helps her mom and dad run the Denali Trading Post, a general store, bunkhouse and transport hub in the fictional village of Qyah, Alaska. Molly of Denali is intended for kids aged 4 to 8.

In addition to Molly of Denali, PBS Kids has lined up Let’s Go Luna!, a new animated social studies series, which is slated to premiere on Wednesday, November 21. Produced by 9 Story Media Group’s award-winning animation studio Brown Bag Films and created by Emmy Award-winning animator, writer and artist Joe Murray (Rocko’s Modern LifeCamp Lazlo), the multiplatform series will debut nationwide on PBS stations, the 24/7 PBS Kids channel and PBS Kids digital platforms. Judy Greer will lend her voice talent.

“PBS Kids programming is rooted in education and inclusion, and we are always looking for new ways to highlight the many different communities that make up America,” said Linda Simensky, the VP of children’s programming at PBS. “With Molly of Denali, we’re building on that commitment. We believe this series will provide more kids with the opportunity to see themselves represented in our programming and are excited to engage all kids with the culture and traditions of Alaska Native peoples.”

“WGBH is thrilled to work with PBS and CPB on this important initiative,” remarked WGBH’s executive producer, Dorothea Gillim. “Molly, her friends and family are funny, relatable characters that resonate with kids everywhere. Alaska itself plays a key role in the episodes and offers a rich context to learn about informational text. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Alaska Native peoples and appreciate the support of our Alaskan public media colleagues.”

Molly of Denali showcases values paramount to all Alaskan Native cultures,” commented Princess Daazhraii Johnson. “These values will be woven into each storyline and provide important learning moments. I’m especially excited that Alaska Native children will get to see themselves in Molly, who’s such an inspiring role model for all kids. The project’s Alaska Native advisors worked hard to ensure that our children will get to see our beautiful cultures in a respectful light.”

“Public media’s free and high-quality educational programs, coupled with strong local station engagement efforts, introduce new learning opportunities to children who may not otherwise have access to them,” said Deb Sanchez, the senior VP for education and children’s content at CPB. “Molly of Denali supports important goals of the Ready To Learn Initiative, such as representing diverse and underrepresented audiences, including those from rural communities, and supporting children’s learning through a vital subject like informational text.”

Let’s Go Luna! gives children a vibrant introduction to some of the most interesting aspects of life around the globe, helping them appreciate what may be the same, and what may be different, about people’s everyday lives,” added Simensky. “The show combines the humor, detail and artistry for which Joe Murray is known with one of the core values of PBS Kids: to encourage children’s curiosity and invite them to learn more about the world.”

“In all of my experience in producing shows, Let’s Go Luna! is the most important of my career,” said Murray, series creator. “Its message to young kids of becoming globally aware has never been as needed as it is now. And how can you go wrong with the moon as your ambassador? From the writers, artists and production staff I get to work with, the culturally rich content, and PBS as the series’ home, all arrows point up for me.”

“We are thrilled to be working with PBS Kids and the incredibly talented Joe Murray to bring Let’s Go Luna! to life,” said Tanya Green, the VP of production for 9 Story’s Brown Bag Films, Canada. “Joe’s unique designs and message of cultural appreciation are sure to be a hit with kids and parents around the world.”