National Geographic and Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo reveal the highly-anticipated premiere date and the new trailer for the Emmy award-winning anthology series, GENIUS: Aretha. The third season of the limited series starring Erivo as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, will premiere with two episodes over four consecutive nights beginning March 21st to National Geographic with episodes available the next day on Hulu.
Watch the official trailer below:
GENIUS: Aretha will be the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted series on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul. The show’s premiere date was announced during the network’s TCA session, which is significant in celebrating the legendary songstress, Aretha Franklin’s birthday.
National Geographic’s critically acclaimed anthology series, GENIUS, dramatizes the captivating stories of the world’s most brilliant pioneers and their tremendous achievements. The anthology series explores innovative creators often volatile, impassioned and complex personal relationships on the way to achieving success.
This third season follows Franklin’s unparalleled career, musical genius and immeasurable impact and long-lasting influence she has left on music and culture across the world. Aretha Franklin left behind a legacy of success as a gospel prodigy, outspoken civil rights leader and arguably the greatest singer of the past 50 years, having received countless honors throughout her career.
The legendary singer is one of the world’s bestselling musical artists of all time, with more than 75 million records sold globally during her career. Aretha Franklin’s voice was championed as a “natural resource” by her home state of Michigan. The story of Aretha Franklin’s musical journey is one which brings major excitement amongst pure music lovers.
The series will feature some of Franklin’s biggest recordings from the comprehensive Warner Music catalogue, including “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” “Chain of Fools,” “Don‘t Play That Song” and “Save Me.” In addition, the series will feature Franklin’s performances of “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me,” “Freeway of Love” and “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves.” Grammy award-winning and Oscar nominated musician Raphael Saadiq served as executive music producer on the show, along with Terence Blanchard the series’ music composer.
Additionally, the third season of the acclaimed anthology series features a number of well-known personalities who crossed paths with Franklin, including Dinah Washington, King Curtis, Clara Ward, Art Tatum, Reverend James Cleveland, Sydney Pollack, Angela Davis, Martin Luther King Jr., Curtis Mayfield and George Michael.
The network’s ongoing podcast series, The Making Of, also released the first of three special behind the scenes GENIUS: Aretha themed episode for fans of the series. The specially crafted podcast episodes feature in-depth interviews with individuals who work in front of the camera and behind the scenes of the show. The latest episode features the show’s cinematographer Kevin McKnight, costume designer Jennifer Bryan and choreographer Dondraico Johnson. The three discuss the process of recreating and honoring the iconic moments of Aretha Franklin’s life that will be covered within the limited series. The podcast, hosted by entertainment journalist Stacey Wilson Hunt, is to stream on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and more podcasting platforms.
GENIUS: Aretha premieres March 21 at 9/8c to National Geographic. All of the eight episodes in the season will be available to stream by Thursday, March 25 on Hulu.
Check out an exclusive list of episodes and descriptions for the series below:
Sunday, March 21, at 9/8c
Desperate for a hit, Aretha travels to Muscle Shoals in 1967 to record her first album with Atlantic Records. After suffering the loss of her surrogate mother, Little Re braves her first solo in 1953, in her father’s, C.L. Franklin, church.
UNTIL THE REAL THING COMES ALONG
Sunday, March 21, at 10/9c
Struggling to find her sound, Aretha catches the attention of Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records in 1966. Meanwhile, Little Re has her first touring experience on the Gospel Circuit in 1954 with C.L. Franklin and meets her idol, Clara Ward.
DO RIGHT WOMAN
Monday, March 22, at 9/8c
Aretha juggles her music career and her commitment to the civil rights movement, led by Martin Luther King Jr., in 1967 and 1968. Meanwhile, Little Re leaves behind her newborn child to return to the Gospel Circuit in 1955, meeting with music legends James Cleveland and Little Sammie Bryant.
Monday, March 22, at 10/9c
Aretha is featured on the cover of Time Magazine in 1968, but she’s devastated when the article focuses on the scandalous details of her personal life. Barbara Franklin and Young C.L. Franklin struggle to establish themselves in Memphis in 1941, before Little Re is born.
YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK
Tuesday, March 23, at 9/8c
Aretha, inspired by Angela Davis and the Soledad Brothers, records her protest album “Young, Gifted and Black” in 1970. Despite Jerry Wexler’s uncertainty, the album is a success. Barbara Franklin makes a decision that has a devastating effect on Little Re in 1951.
Tuesday, March 23, at 10/9c
Aretha records her best-selling live Gospel album “Amazing Grace” in 1972 at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church, ignoring her sibling’s pleas to record instead at New Bethel with their father, C.L. Franklin. Little Re discovers that she’s pregnant with her second child, forcing her to leave school. While pregnant, she records her first album at New Bethel in 1956.
CHAIN OF FOOLS
Wednesday, March 24, at 9/8c
As the Queen of Soul enters the age of disco, Aretha will do anything to remain relevant-including stealing an opportunity from her sister Carolyn. She receives a GRAMMY nomination but is ultimately snubbed from winning the award. While at the ceremony, she meets with Arista founder Clive Davis. Meanwhile, Jerry Wexler leaves Atlantic Records, and he and Aretha part ways.
NO ONE SLEEPS
Wednesday, March 24, at 10/9c
Despite significant emotional losses, including a second divorce and the death of her father in 1984, Aretha pushes herself artistically and triumphs. She begins a successful career at Arista, with the help of Clive Davis, and in an unforgettable GRAMMY performance in 1998, she solidifies her eternal reign as the Queen of Soul.