Next Season of Nat Geo’s “Genius” Centers on Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin. Photo by Angela Pham/ (5371853c)

The next season of Genius centers on musical icon Aretha Franklin.

National Geographic confirmed during the network’s Television Critics Association panel that the third season of its Emmy-nominated scripted anthology will be based on the life and career of the Queen of Soul. This will be the first time the series will center on a woman.

The first two seasons of Genius centered on Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, and starred Geoffrey Rush and Antonio Banderas respectively.

Season Three was initially planned to feature author Mary Shelley, however, following Franklin’s death in August, plans were changed and the network decided to devote the season ti Franklin. According to Deadline, the “Mary Shelley story remains in consideration for future installments of the anthology series.”

It was also announced that Pulitzer-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks will serve as executive producer and showrunner for the upcoming season.

“Aretha Franklin had the ability to empower generations through her iconic music, and I’m excited to finally be able to tell her story, a career passion of mine. All through her life she used her voice to elevate people and the causes she believed in, especially the women’s and civil rights movements,” executive producer Brian Grazer said in a statement. “You can hear the hopes and sorrows of a divided nation in her soulful voice, penetrating and motivating people at their core in a deeply emotional way. She cut through the pain of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination to help heal and unite America with her music and, in the process, ushered in the post-gospel era of rhythm and blues. We’re so grateful she shared her genius with the world.”

Genius: Aretha Franklin is expected to premiere at the beginning of 2020.