By Sarah Rodman and Joey Nolfi
January 17, 2020 at 05:00 PM EST
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Genius (TV series)

type
  • TV Show
network
  • National Geographic
genre

Cynthia Erivo is giving Aretha Franklin‘s legacy the r-e-s-p-e-c-t it deserves, and EW has exclusive details on when you can see her in action as the legendary vocalist.

The newly minted double Oscar nominee‘s turn as Franklin in Genius: Aretha — the third installment of National Geographic’s anthology series — will bow on May 25, kicking off a four-night run of eight consecutive episodes.

EW can also reveal a set of exclusive images featuring Erivo as Franklin, as well as a first look at Courtney B. Vance as Aretha’s father, C.L. Franklin, and Shaian Jordan as young Aretha.

GeniusAretha_Ep301_Sc21_Day01_0237_v1
Credit: Richard DuCree/National Geographic

With more than 75 million records sold around the world, Aretha was regarded as one of the most gifted singers of her generation, with 112 hit singles on the Billboard charts, 18 Grammys, and three presidential inauguration performances under her belt. Before her death in 2018, Aretha became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, evolving into a global superstar from her humble beginnings as a gospel prodigy.

GeniusAretha_Ep301_R-A17_Day02_0169_CSI
Credit: Richard DuCree/National Geographic

Executive-produced by Emmy winner Anthony Hemingway (American Crime Story, Underground) in partnership with Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, and Franklin’s longtime collaborator Clive Davis, Genius: Aretha dramatizes Franklin’s rise, exploring her professional achievements as well as her “volatile, passionate, and complex personal relationships,” according to an official synopsis.

GeniusAretha_Ep301_Sc21_Day01_0600_v2
Credit: Richard DuCree/National Geographic

In addition to Harriet‘s Erivo, Vance, and Jordan, Genius‘ third season also stars Pauletta Washington (She’s Gotta Have It) as Franklin family matriarch Grandmother Rachel, Patrice Covington (The Color Purple) and Rebecca Naomi Jones (The Big Sick) as Aretha’s sisters, Steven Norfleet as Aretha’s brother, and Omar J. Dorsey (Queen Sugar) as James Cleveland, a choir director who joins C.L.’s church and mentors a young Aretha. Malcolm Barrett (Timeless), David Cross (Goliath), Marque Richardson (Dear White People), and Kimberly Hébert Gregory (Vice Principals) costar in additional supporting roles.

Genius: Aretha debuts Monday, May 25 at 9:00 p.m. on National Geographic. See EW’s exclusive photos from the series above and below.

GeniusAretha_Ep301_Sc30_Day06_0160_CSI
Credit: Richard DuCree/National Geographic
GeniusAretha_Ep301_R-A17_Day02_0171_CSI
Credit: Richard DuCree/National Geographic

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Genius (TV series)

type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 3
rating
genre
status
  • In Season
network
  • National Geographic

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