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Television’s New ‘Genius’ is Aretha Franklin

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — A roundup of news Sunday from the Television Critics Association winter meeting, where TV networks and streaming services are presenting details on upcoming programs.


Aretha Franklin

FILE – In this March 13, 1972 file photo, Aretha Franklin holds her Grammy Award for Best Rhythm and Blue performance of the song “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” in New York. (AP Photo/Dave Pickoff, File)

The late singer Aretha Franklin will be the subject of the National Geographic network’s third installment of its “Genius” series.

The network said on Sunday that its next miniseries will feature the “Queen of Soul,” who died last year. She’s pushing author Mary Shelley back. National Geographic said last year that the “Frankenstein” author would be its third “Genius,” but said Sunday Shelley will be used for a later season.

Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso were the first two focuses of the “Genius” series.

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks will be the executive producer running the show. Music moguls Clive Davis and Craig Kellman of Atlantic Records will also offer their expertise, said Courteney Monroe, National Geographic president.

“We could not be more excited about this next season,” she said.


Actress Alyssa Milano says women in Hollywood need to be prepared for the re-entry of men accused of sexual misconduct into the workplace.

Milano, credited with starting the #MeToo movement with a tweet encouraging women to speak up if they’d been sexually assaulted or harassed, was on a panel of female television creators convened by the Lifetime network. She reacted to reports that former CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves, who was fired last year after misconduct charges surfaced, has set up a new company to potentially produce content.

“That’s going to happen,” Milano said. “We can’t expect that not to happen. I mean, we can’t put all these men on an island and say, eh, they’ll figure it out.”

“They’re going to get jobs again,” she said. “So I think it’s our responsibility to figure out what that re-entry into the workplace looks like and how women will feel comfortable in that space.”


The National Geographic network says it will begin producing a television series based on “The Right Stuff,” author Tom Wolfe’s account of the beginning of the U.S. space program.

Among the creators involved are Leonardo DiCaprio, whose production company is putting the project together, and David Nutter of “Game of Thrones,” who will direct the premiere episode of the series. Production is set to begin in the fall.

The first season takes place at the height of the Cold War, when the nation’s first seven astronauts were selected. Subsequent seasons will address the Apollo space program and the first moon landing.

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