Ron Howard to Direct Nat Geo’s First Scripted Show

National Geographic Channel is going straight to series with its first ever scripted series, the anthology Genius from Fox 21 Television Studios, Imagine Television, OddLot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow. Ron Howard will direct the first episode.

Each season of the anthology will dramatize the stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators. The premiere season will focus on Albert Einstein and will be based on Walter Isaacson’s book Einstein: His Life and Universe, adapted by writer Noah Pink.

Genius will be executive produced by Imagine’s Howard, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo, and co-produced by Anna Culp; from OddLot Entertainment, Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane will executive produce and Melissa Rucker will co-produce; and Sam Sokolow and Jeff Cooney from EUE/Sokolow will also executive produce, as will Pink.  

Genius is perfectly emblematic of our vision to create premium, distinctive and highly entertaining content that fits the National Geographic brand,” said National Geographic Channels CEO Courteney Monroe. "We are thrilled to be partnering with the exceptional teams at Fox 21 TVS, Imagine Television and OddLot to tell rich, provocative and powerful stories that celebrate human ingenuity.” 

The first season will uncover how a rebellious patent clerk and struggling father unlocked the mysteries of the atom and the universe. Production is expected to begin this summer in Prague, with the series debuting next spring.

“Having already worked with National Geographic on Breakthrough and currently in production on Mars, I look forward to their support as we tell this ambitious but intimate and revealing human story behind Einstein’s scientific brilliance,” said Imagine’s Howard. “I hope that his story, as well as those of other geniuses, will both entertain and inspire the next generation of Einsteins.” 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.