‘The Ghost and Molly McGee’ Sees Optimist and Grouch Find Common Ground

Scratch, Molly
(Image credit: Disney)

The Ghost and Molly McGee premieres on Disney Channel Oct. 1. The animated show depicts Molly, a tween optimist, and Scratch, a grouchy ghost. Her family moves into a new house that has seen better times. “It is a bit of a fixer-upper,” concedes her father. 

Scratch lives in the house, and does not want the family there. When a Scratch curse backfires, he finds himself bound forever to Molly. 

She’s psyched. He’s not. 

Bill Motz and Bob Roth created the series. As the pair was hashing out the show, they saw their personalities emerge in the two characters. Molly is upbeat, and so is Motz. Scratch is a pessimist, and so is Roth. 

“Molly is an extrovert and Scratch is an introvert. She’s an optimist, he’s a pessimist,” Roth said. “She’s happy-go-lucky, he’s just happy to go anywhere else but here.”

Motz and Roth have been working together for over 30 years. Their work includes Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures and The Penguins of Madagascar

The Ghost and Molly McGee isn’t the first time Motz and Roth have seen themselves on screen. “We always put a little piece of ourselves into the show,” said Roth. 

The Ghost and Molly McGee has been in the works for 14 years, the creators say. The timing for the project was never quite right, until recently. “There’s a sense of optimism and hope, and it felt like the right time for a show that leans into this kind of positivity,” Motz said. 

Ashly Burch voices Molly and Dana Snyder handles Scratch. Guest stars include Kelsey Grammer, Greta Gerwig, Yvette Nicole Brown and Jane Lynch.

Disney Channel has greenlit a second season. 

The show features loads of original music. Rob Cantor, guitarist in the Ann Arbor band Tally Hall, is the composer. The songs are all over the map, from jazz to orchestral to stuff with a horror vibe. “Rob is such a musical chameleon,” said Roth. “It jumps all around, and no two songs are quite the same. He delivered something really fun and exciting.”

Motz and Roth executive produce along with Steve Loter.

Over time, Scratch starts to appreciate Molly. The characters do have a little something in common. Motz mentions a “fun little design thing” where the loose threads of hair shooting out of Molly’s ponytail look like the lines under Scratch’s eyes. “It’s a subtle cue to the audience that these two belong together,” said Roth. “They are a team, whether they realize it or not.”

The show premieres at 9:35 p.m. ET Oct. 1, and the first five episodes are on Disney Plus Oct. 6. The Ghost and Molly McGee shifts to the 9 a.m. ET slot Saturday, Oct. 2.  

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.