‘Genius’: Nat Geo May Make Aretha Franklin the Season 3 Subject Instead of Mary Shelley

Queen of Soul passed away in August

Aretha Franklin
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Genius! National Geographic Channel wants to fast-track an Aretha Franklin season of Fox and Imagine’s docu-drama “Genius,” an insider with knowledge of the project tells TheWrap. Ideally, the parties hope to use the Queen of Soul’s installment as the anthology series’ upcoming Season 3.

Back in April, Nat Geo said “Genius” Season 3 would focus on “Frankenstein” author Mary Shelley. It’s possible that Shelley could still be the third season’s subject, the insider tells us, with Franklin profiled after. The network wants both Franklin and Shelley to happen — it would just be preferable to all parties for Franklin’s run to air first, as she just passed away in August at age 76.

During her career, Franklin won 18 Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award in 1994. She was also the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Fox 21 Television Studios, which produces the show with Imagine TV, declined to comment on this story. Imagine did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment, nor did Nat Geo.

Ken Biller is the “Genius” showrunner. Biller, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Francie Calfo, Gigi Pritzker, Rachel Shane, Sam Sokolow, and Jeff Cooney are executive producers. Anna Culp is producer.

Filming on “Genius 3” is expected to begin later this year.

The first two seasons of “Genius” centered on Albert Einstein (Geoffrey Rush) and Pablo Picasso (Antonio Banderas), respectively.