National Geographic Delays Genius: Aretha Premiere Date
Deadline is reporting that National Geographic has delayed the Genius: Aretha premiere date for the limited series centering on legendary singer Aretha Franklin starring Cynthia Erivo. The series was originally scheduled to debut on May 25, but due to production delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the premiere has been pushed back to a to-be-announced date.
You can read National Geographic’s statement below:
“Production on National Geographic’s limited series Genius: Aretha (from Fox 21 Television Studios and Imagine Television Studios) remains suspended and it has become clear that the series will not be completed in time for our previously announced Memorial Day airdate. We look forward to resuming work as soon as is possible and safe, and at that time will announce a new premiere date for later this year.
We cannot wait to let Aretha’s voice sing, and in the words of the Queen herself, ‘Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people. And your social contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well.’
In that spirit, we wish all of our viewers well in these challenging times, particularly those who are working in our communities to keep us all safe.”
Genius: Aretha will star Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo (Harriet, The Outsider) as Aretha Franklin, Courtney B. Vance (American Crime Story) as C.L. Franklin, David Cross (Arrested Development) as Jerry Wexler, Malcolm Barett (Timeless) as Ted White, Patrice Convington as Erma Franklin, Kimberly Hebert Gregory (Vice Principals) as Ruth Bowen and Rebecca Naomi Jones (Someone Great) as Carolyn Franklin. The cast also includes Tip “T.I.” Harris (Ant-Man and the Wasp), Antonique Smith (Luke Cage) and Tina Fears in recurring roles, as well as Ethan Henry (Bloodline) in a guest-starring role.
The third installment of Genius will be the first-ever, definitive scripted miniseries on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul, who passed away at the 76 last August 2018. The production will feature many of Aretha Franklin’s biggest recordings and hit songs from her comprehensive Warner Music catalog, including “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” “Chain of Fools,” and “Baby I Love You.” In addition, the series will feature Franklin’s performances of “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me,” “Freeway of Love” and “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves.”
Suzan-Lori Parks, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Topdog/Underdog, will be executive producer and showrunner for Genius: Aretha Franklin. Emmy winner Anthony Hemingway (Red Trails, Underground, American Crime Story) also serves as executive producer and as a director on the series.
Fox 21 Television Studios (The Assassination of Gianni Versace, The People v. OJ Simpson) will also return to produce the next installment.
Imagine is partnering with Warner Music Group for this third season, which will again be executive produced by Imagine’s Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Francie Calfo. Legendary hit record producer Clive Davis and Atlantic Records Chairman and CEO Craig Kallman have also joined as executive producers. Returning executive producers include Ken Biller (Genius: Einstein, Genius: Picasso), Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane (MWM Studios), and Sam Sokolow (EUE/Sokolow). Diana Son joins as executive producer. In addition, Imagine’s Anna Culp serves as producer alongside Peter Afterman.
National Geographic premiered the first season of Genius in 2017, which starred Geoffrey Rush as the brilliant scientist Albert Einstein, which earned 10 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Limited Series, as well as Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for Rush. The follow-up season, Genius: Picasso, starred Antonio Banderas as the titular Spanish painter, and matched much of the success of its predecessor, earning seven Emmy nominations – and two wins – as well as Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for Banderas.
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