TCA 2019: Nat Geo Sets ‘Genius: Aretha Franklin;' Suzan-Lori Parks to Serve as Exec. Producer

National Geographic will profile the life of music legend Aretha Franklin in the next installment of its Genius anthology series, with Pulitzer Prize award-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks serving as executive producer, the network announced Sunday during the 2019 TCA winter press tour.

Genius: Aretha Franklin will chronicle the life of the Queen of Soul, who passed away in 2018. Franklin follows Genius installments on Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso.

Parks will serve as showrunner for the third season of the anthology series, with veteran music producer Clive Davis — along with Atlantic Records Chairman and CEO Craig Kallman — serving as executive producers. Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Francie Calfo will also serve as executive producers, according to Nat Geo executives.

Related: National Geographic to Premiere 'Free Solo' Commercial Free in March

In other Nat Geo TCA news, the network has secured the rights to NBC’s non-fiction series RunningWild With Bear Grylls, which is currently in production and slated to premiere in December 2019.

-- The network has greenlit to series The Right Stuff, an adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s best-selling nonfiction account of the early days of the U.S. space program. Production will begin this Fall 2019.

-- Premiere dates for several new and existing series include The Story of God with Morgan Freeman (March 5), Hostile Planet (April 1), Science Fair (May 9), The Hot Zone (May 27), Going Viral (May 2019), Yellowstone Live (June 2019), and Apollo: Mission to the Moon (July 2019).

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.