Genius: Aretha is the latest series to get a delay amid the coronavirus pandemic. The series had to halt production after the outbreak and is not ready in time for its original Memorial Day weekend premiere. A new date has not been announced.
It was set to premiere right at the end of the Emmy eligibility window. Now, the series will no longer be eligible for this year’s awards, just like FX’s Fargo starring Chris Rock and HBO’s The Undoing starring Nicole Kidman, both of which have been officially delayed as well.
In a statement, the network says “it has become clear that the series will not be completed in time for our previously announced Memorial Day airdate.” It continues, “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. 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 latest Genius installment is being billed as “the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted limited series on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul.” Brian Grazer and Ron Howard executive produce the series, which is from Imagine Television and Fox 21. Suzan-Lori Parks is the showrunner and an executive producer. The first two seasons of Genius focused on Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein.
Joining Cynthia Erivo as the Queen of Soul, the Genius: Aretha cast also includes Courtney B. Vance, Malcolm Barrett, Patrice Covington, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Rebecca Naomi Jones and Sanai Victoria.
Here’s the official description: Genius dramatizes the fascinating stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators, exploring their extraordinary achievements along with their volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships. The third season of the anthology series will explore Franklin’s musical genius and incomparable career, as well as the immeasurable impact and lasting influence she has had on music and culture around the world. Grammy Award winner Franklin was a gospel prodigy and outspoken civil rights champion and is widely considered to be the greatest singer of the past 50 years, receiving countless honors throughout her career.
The third season of this anthology series is separate from the feature film by MGM starring Jennifer Hudson that is in post-production. It also received a recent delay, and will now be out on Christmas Day.
Photo: Nat Geo