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Genius: Aretha

Third installment of the National Geographic’s Series, will feature the Queen of Soul.

National Geographic, with Imagine Television Studios and Fox 21 Television Studios, announced the cast that will be joining previously announced Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin, in the next installment of the Emmy-winning global anthology series Genius: Aretha.

Malcolm Barrett, Patrice Covington, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Rebecca Naomi Jones and Sanai Victoria will star in the eight-episode global limited series. Additionally, Anthony Hemingway is tapped to serve as executive producer and direct the pilot episode of the upcoming season, the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted limited series on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul.

Barrett joins as Ted White, Aretha’s first husband and business manager, who develops relationships with songwriters and producers and picks some of her biggest hits. But as Aretha gains fame, White’s heavy drinking and volatile behavior ends their marriage. Covington and Jones will portray Erma and Carolyn Franklin, respectively, Aretha’s sisters, who are both talented performers in their own right and sing backup for Aretha. Hébert Gregory will play Ruth Bowen, a pioneer in her field, the head of a successful black-owned agency, who represents Aretha, booking her into world-class venues and getting her onto the covers of Time and Ebony magazines. Victoria will be Little Re (young Aretha), the shy, immensely talented daughter of celebrated Detroit preacher Clarence LaVaughn (C.L.) Franklin, who thrusts her into the spotlight at a very young age.

Prolific producer and director Hemingway, will serve as an executive producer and direct the pilot episode of Genius: Aretha. Hemingway directed and executive produced productions seen such as Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and Underground.

Hemingway received the 2017 African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) Horizon Award and has garnered Emmy, Golden Globe, PGA, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and BAFTA TV Awards for his work on The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.

Filming will start this December for a 2020 premiere on National Geographic channels in 172 countries and 43 languages.

National Geographic, the company behind the recent Oscar-winning and seven Emmy-winning Free Solo, in 2017 premiered the first season of Genius, which starred Geoffrey Rush as the brilliant scientist Albert Einstein. Biller was showrunner and creator for the multi-Emmy-winning Genius: Picasso and Genius Einstein. The latter earned 10 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Limited Series, as well as Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for Rush. The follow-up series to Einstein’s story, 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.

The Queen of Soul, will be taking her Small Screen place as a Genius, in 2020

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