NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC AND DOUBLE OSCAR® NOMINEE CYNTHIA ERIVO REVEAL HIGHLY ANTICIPATED SERIES GENIUS: ARETHA

The Limited Series Stars Erivo as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, and Courtney B Vance as CL Franklin Will Premiere to MENA audiences on Monday 22nd March 2021 at 9:00 PM UAE time/8:00 KSA time on National Geographic Channel.

Ron Howard and Brian Grazer Serve as Executive Producers

Dubai, UAE – March 21, 2021 — National Geographic and Double Oscar Nominee Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet,” “The Color Purple”) announced the highly anticipated premiere of GENIUS: ARETHA series. Celebrating Aretha Franklin’s birthday, the series will air on Monday 22nd March at 9:00 PM UAE/ 8:00 PM KSA on National Geographic Channel.

The latest in the multiple Emmy award-winning anthology series, GENIUS: ARETHA is the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted series on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul. It will explore Aretha 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. Franklin was a gospel prodigy, an outspoken civil rights champion and widely considered the greatest singer of the past 50 years, receiving countless honors throughout her career.

Without knowing how to read music, Franklin taught herself to play the piano; at the young age of 12, she began to record songs and sing on gospel tours with her father. She signed her first record deal at age 18 with Columbia Records. In 1966, she moved to Atlantic Records, where she recorded many of her most iconic songs. In 1979, she began a 40-year friendship and partnership with Clive Davis, which produced a number of hit songs, including the highest charting and bestselling song of her career, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” a duet with George Michael. 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. Her voice was identified as a “natural resource” by her home state of Michigan.

The star-studded cast includes triple threat Tony®-, Emmy®– and GRAMMY® Award-winning Erivo as Aretha Franklin who will be performing many songs from Franklin’s rich catalogue; the Emmy-winning Courtney B Vance (“The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”) as Aretha’s father, CL Franklin; Malcolm Barrett (“Timeless,” “Preacher”) as Ted White, Franklin’s first husband and business manager; David Cross (“Mr. Show,” “Arrested Development”) as legendary music producer Jerry Wexler, who guided Franklin as she developed into a confident singer and commercial success; Patrice Covington (“The Color Purple”, “Ain’t Misbehavin’”) and Rebecca Naomi Jones (“Oklahoma!,” “The Big Sick”) portray Erma and Carolyn Franklin, respectively, as Aretha’s sisters and frequent background singers, who supported and collaborated with their famous sibling; Steven Norfleet (“Watchmen,” “Dynasty”) as older brother Cecil Franklin, who stepped in as Aretha’s manager following her divorce from Ted White; veteran actress Pauletta Washington (“Beloved,” “She’s Gotta Have It”) as Aretha’s nurturing and loving paternal grandmother, Rachel; Omar J. Dorsey (“Queen Sugar”) as James Cleveland; Marque Richardson (“Dear White People”) as King Curtis, Kimberly Hébert Gregory (“Vice Principals”) as Ruth Bowen; and introducing Shaian Jordan as young Aretha Franklin, aka Little Re.

The series features many of Franklin’s biggest recordings and hit songs. It is produced by 20th Television and Imagine Entertainment with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard as executive producers along with legendary hit record-Producer Clive Davis and Atlantic Records Chairman and CEO Craig Kallman.

About National Geographic Partners:

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between Disney and the National Geographic Society, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivalled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo, Nat Geo People) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of the world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 133 years, and now it is committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for consumers… all while reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month. NGP returns 27 percent of its proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com.

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