We've Got Hollywood Covered

Nat Geo Pushes ‘Genius: Aretha’ Premiere From Memorial Day to ‘Later This Year’

”It has become clear that the series will not be completed in time,“ cable channel says

National Geographic has pushed back the premiere date for “Genius: Aretha” from Memorial Day 2020 to “later this year.”

Like basically every other TV show, the limited series starring Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin is on a forced production hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“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,” a Nat Geo spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”

The statement continued: “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,” the statement concluded.


“Genius: Aretha” is the third installment of the Nat Geo anthology series, following two previous seasons starring Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein and Antonio Banderas as Pablo Picasso. Joining Erivo in the eight-episode series is an ensemble cast including Courtney B. Vance, David Cross, Malcolm Barrett, Patrice Covington, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Rebecca Naomi Jones and Sanai Victoria.

Suzan-Lori Parks is showrunner on the new season, with Anthony Hemingway executive producing and directing.

The original subject for Season 3 of “Genius” was novelist Mary Shelley, who wrote “Frankenstein.” Those plans were scrapped in the summer over creative reasons, Nat Geo Channel president Courteney Monroe said.