National Geographic Channel set to premiere Saints & Strangers, the epic, untold story behind the founding of America and the men, women and children in search of a new life in an unexplored land. The four-hour miniseries, produced by Sony Pictures Television with Little Engine Productions, is set to air November 22th. Grant Scharbo, Gina Matthews, Teri Weinberg and Eric Overmyer are executive producers.
Saints & Strangers is a story that goes beyond the familiar historical version of the founding of America, revealing the trials and tribulations of the first American settlers: 101 men, women and children who sailed on a chartered ship called the Mayflower for a place no one had ever seen.
Half of these “pilgrims” were religious separatists who had abandoned their prior lives for religious freedom and an opportunity to create a new social order built on their values. The other half, “adventurers,” were mostly single males seeking financial opportunity and a rapid acquisition of wealth in a new land, or trying to escape their old identities or criminal pasts.
These two groups — the spiritual and the mercenary — continue to define the American character to this day. Both groups display dauntless courage and true belief, along with fanaticism, racism, and deplorable injustice and violence. The personal struggles endured while working to establish their new way of life in America shaped the early DNA of our nation.
And intertwined with their complex inner struggles is the relationship with the Native Americans, and the conflicting allegiances among these groups, culminating in trials of assimilation, faith and compromise that to this day define our country.
“Given our early success with our scripted fare, further strengthened by the recent record ratings of Killing Jesus, we wanted to find our next brand-definitional scripted television event. And we found that in Saints & Strangers, which is the ultimate story of adventure and exploration,” said Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic Channels. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to join with Sony Pictures Television and Little Engine Productions to help weave the storytelling of these courageous people who sailed on the Mayflower seeking a better life in a completely unknown land.”
“Sony Television was excited to be producing Saints & Strangers for National Geographic Channel, as they are the perfect venue on which to tell this authentic, epic adventure that depicts the founding of our nation,” said Helen Verno, Executive Vice President, Movies and Miniseries, Sony Pictures Television. “Our excellent producing team, Little Engine and our great writers will give the audience a vivid, never-before-seen perspective of the origins of our nation.”
“This is about exploring human endeavor, creating powerful emotional connections, giving this historical event a little bit of heart,” added Grant Scharbo and Gina Matthews, executive producers and founders of Little Engine Productions. “This story deserves an authentic, gripping narrative, which is a hallmark of National Geographic, and we can’t wait to bring this epic event to life.”
Saints & Strangers was produced for National Geographic Channels US by Sony Pictures Television. For Little Engine Productions, executive producers are Grant Scharbo and Gina Matthews; Teri Weinberg is executive producer; Eric Overmyer is executive producer/writer; Seth Fisher is writer. Original script was written by Chip Johannessen with revisions by Walon Green. For Sony Pictures Television, executive in charge of production is Helen Verno. For National Geographic Channels, president of original programming and production is Tim Pastore; vice president of production is Matt Renner.