Press Release

Next Stop for Globetrotting Heroine Carmen Sandiego? The Primetime Emmys!

Voiced by stars Gina Rodriguez and Finn Wolfhard, the new animated series supports learning and empowers young people to become global citizens

NEW YORK – The Carmen Sandiego original animated series, developed from the beloved edutainment franchise owned by learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), has been nominated for a 2019 Primetime Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Children’s Program by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Carmen Sandiego is the first project produced for the screen by HMH Productions, an in-house production company that develops media based on HMH’s IP and books to create consumer brands across TV, film, licensing, books, and digital channels.

“Carmen Sandiego is an aspirational role model and global citizen, and the series is an action-packed adventure that inspires kids to learn about and celebrate all cultures,” said Caroline Fraser, Head of HMH Productions and an Executive Producer of the series. “Combining education and fun remains central to the Carmen mission, and her animated escapades – rich with diverse stories, intriguing facts, and learning moments – are resonating with young viewers everywhere.”

“Carmen Sandiego was my hero when I was a kid. I love having the opportunity to play a strong, smart, independent woman who promotes empathy and understanding,” said Gina Rodriguez, the Golden Globe Award–winning star of Jane the Virgin and social activist who lends her voice to the role of Carmen Sandiego. Carmen’s sidekick, Player, is voiced by Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things).

The animated series debuted on Netflix in January 2019 and introduces today’s children to the globe-trotting super-thief as she uncovers secrets about her past and is revealed as a modern-day Robin Hood figure, who reclaims artifacts stolen by the criminal organization V.I.L.E. and returns them to its victims. A major live-action feature film, also starring Gina Rodriguez as Carmen, is in development, and Netflix has announced a second season of the Carmen Sandiego series.

Carmen Sandiego made her first appearance in 1985 in the first of 22 video games and went on to become a best-selling game franchise and hit television series. Carmen Sandiego has won over 125 awards and accolades, including three Emmys. An ongoing Carmen Sandiego publishing program from HMH Books & Media includes the novelization Who in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (available in English and Spanish), as well as graphic novels, several “Chase-Your-Own Caper” titles, and stories in additional formats.   

Other highlights from Carmen Sandiego’s return include:

  • A comprehensive, multi-year in-school marketing campaign to bring Carmen Sandiego back into the classroom, featuring extensive activities that connect kids to themes of geography, history, culture, and diversity 
  • Three hugely successful Google Earth capers, inspired by the new series and the original computer games
  • Several licensees, including Goliath games (board games), Spirit (Halloween costumes), and Basic Fun (electronic toys)

The Carmen Sandiego series was developed by showrunner and head writer Duane Capizzi, designed by Kevin Dart & Chromosphere, and produced by DHX Media. HMH Productions has several additional series in development with major distributors, not yet announced.

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media
For nearly two centuries, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has published some of the world's most renowned novels, nonfiction, children's books, and reference works. As part of a leading global learning company, it is uniquely positioned to offer educational and entertaining content for all audiences. Its distinguished author list includes ten Nobel Prize winners, forty-eight Pulitzer Prize winners, fifteen National Book Award winners, and more than one hundred Caldecott, Newbery, Printz, and Sibert Medal and Honor recipients. Current and recent authors include Tim O'Brien, Natasha Trethewey, Tim Ferriss, Amos Oz, Ursula K. Le Guin, and a celebrated roster of children's authors and illustrators including Kwame Alexander, Lois Lowry, and Chris Van Allsburg. HMH is also home to The Best American series® The Whole30®, Weber Grill, How to Cook Everything®, and other leading lifestyle properties; books by J.R.R. Tolkien; and many iconic children's books and characters, including Curious George®, The Little Prince, and The Polar Express. HMH Productions develops and produces media and licensed products related to brands such as Carmen Sandiego and Oregon Trail. HMH Audio, a newly launched imprint, will publish audio books of HMH front list and backlist titles starting in fall 2019. 

About HMH Productions
HMH Productions is a content incubator, production company, and brand manager with expertise across all media platforms. As part of the largest K-12 education company in the country and one of the oldest and most celebrated publishers, HMH Productions is uniquely positioned to identify book properties with media potential while building a pipeline of original IP developed in-house. It produces TV, film, and interactive media, from conception through launch, handling marketing, product licensing, and promotions for HMH’s major franchises, which include Carmen Sandiego and The Oregon Trail.