WVEL Entertainment Scope: Genius: Aretha Franklin

(Photo By Flickr User joe ortuzar)


It’s official, the upcoming third season of National Geographic’s scripted anthology series Genius will be devoted to the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, who died in August 2018 at age 76.

Suzan-Lori Parks, Pulitzer Prize award-winning playwright of Topdog/Underdog, will be executive producer and showrunner of the project, from Imagine Television and Fox 21 TV Studios. Music mogul and longtime Franklin collaborator Clive Davis as well as Atlantic Records chairman and CEO Craig Kallman also executive produce.

According to Deadline & Good Black News, Genius was renewed for a third season in April 2019, with author Mary Shelley revealed as its subject, to follow Albert Einstein and Picasso.

The Mary Shelley story remains in consideration for future installments of the anthology series.

The idea of doing a Franklin-centered Genius came together quickly following the music icon’s August 16, 2018 death, spearheaded by Imagine’s Brian Grazer.

The project had been moving full steam ahead since, with securing access to Franklin’s music considered the one key element that would clinch a green light.

Bringing David, Kallman, and Warner Music Group on board was very important in that aspect, with the producers currently able to use about 80% of Franklin’s catalog and working to secure the remaining titles.