NatGeo Moves Limited Series 'Barkskins' Into 'Genius: Aretha' Emmy Contender Slot (Exclusive)

BARKSIN Still 3 -National Geographic Publicity -H 2020
National Geographic/Philippe Bosse

NatGeo will be a player in the best limited series Emmy race after all.

Just weeks after the network announced that the industry-wide shutdown would keep Genius: Aretha, its limited series starring Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin, from being completed in time to make the Emmys eligibility cutoff of May 31, it has moved up the airdate of Barkskins, a limited series adapted from Annie Proulx's 2016 epic novel of the same name and brought to the screen by Scott Rudin Productions and Fox 21 Television Studios, so that it can compete this season, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Barkskins, an eight-parter, will premiere over Memorial Day weekend — specifically, Monday, May 25, at 9 p.m. ET — and will air back-to-back episodes each week for four weeks.

Based on the New York Times best-selling novel by Proulx, a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner best known for the novel The Shipping News and the story Brokeback Mountain, Barkskins spans 300 years, telling the story of two immigrants to New France (the area in America that was colonized by France), and their descendants.

Series creator Elwood Reid, a Peabody Award winner, also serves as showrunner and executive producer. Rudin, Proulx, Garrett Basch, Eli Bush and David Slade are also EPs. The cast includes Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden, David Thewlis, Christian Cooke, James Bloor, Aneurin Barnard, Thomas Wright, Kaniehtiio (Tiio) Horn, Zahn McClarnon, Tallulah Haddon, Lily Sullivan and David Wilmot.

"Barkskins is a primeval story of survival and the quest to build a civilization out of the endless forest," Reid said in a statement. "The settlers who've come to seek their fortune in the vast and unforgiving 'New World' — the landless poor, street urchins, religious seekers, rapacious traders and penniless young women hoping to marry into land and wealth — are met with the brutal reality of their dreams as they attempt to carve their place in it. They find themselves in the forest of the world, a dark and uncaring place, long settled by indigenous nations who view their arrival with disdain, and a recognition that an alliance with these disparate newcomers is increasingly necessary for survival."