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

Aretha Franklin. Photo by Clint Spaulding/WWD/REX/Shutterstock (8620280bt)

The third season of National Geographic’s Genius will be Aretha Franklin-centered. 

Season Three of Nat Geo’s Emmy-nominated scripted anthology will be based on the life and career of the Queen of Soul. The first two seasons centered on Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, which means the forthcoming season will mark the first time the series will center on a woman.

The upcoming season 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 to Franklin. According to Deadline, the “Mary Shelley story remains in consideration for future installments of the anthology series.”

The news was announced by the network during its TCA panel. 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.”

Filming on the Franklin-centered Genius season is set to begin this summer. Genius: Aretha Franklin is expected to premiere in 2020.