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Aretha Franklin’s life to be dramatized for next season of NatGeo series Genius


Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesThe National Geographic channel is showing Aretha Franklin some major r-e-s-p-e-c-t by choosing the late Queen of Soul as the subject of the next season of its scripted anthology series, Genius.

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for Topdog/Underdog, will serve as an executive producer and the showrunner for Genius: Aretha Franklin. The miniseries will begin filming this summer, and is expected to premiere in early 2020.

Legendary music producer and longtime Aretha collaborator Clive Davis also is among the production’s executive producers, as are director Ron Howard and movie mogul Brian Grazer.

Many of Franklin’s biggest hits will be featured in the program, including “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” “Chain of Fools,” “Freeway of Love” and her hit duet with Annie Lennox, “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves.”

Genius: Aretha Franklin will delve into the iconic singer’s life, career and cultural impact and influence.

“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,” says Grazer. “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.”

Adds Davis, “Aretha and I shared a 40-year friendship, ever since she cooked me dinner to talk about working together to reinvigorate her career. I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with her and her incredible instrument. She was a gift to the world, one that will last for many generations.”

Franklin died on August 16, 2018, of pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

The subjects of the previous two seasons of Genius were Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso.

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