National Geographic, with Fox 21 Studios and Imagine Television Studios, announced today that Academy Award nominee Terence Blanchard (BlacKkKlansman, Inside Man, Malcolm X) is set to score the upcoming National Geographic original series Genius: Aretha. Raphael Saadiq (Insecure, Step) has been tapped to serve as an executive music producer and will be responsible for producing, arranging and recording all of the original song elements within the series featuring live performances. The biographical drama stars Cynthia Erivo in the title role of Aretha Franklin, as well as Courtney B. Vance, Malcolm Barrett, David Cross, Pauletta Washington, Patrice Covington, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Steven Norfleet, Omar J. Dorsey, Marque Richardson, Kimberly Hébert Gregory and Shaian Jordan.  The 8-parter will chart how gospel prodigy Little Re became the iconic Aretha Franklin, the indisputable Queen of Soul. Brian Grazer & Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind) are executive producing the project for Imagine Television, alongside showrunner Suzan-Lori Parks, Anthony Hemingway (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story), hit record producer Clive Davis, Atlantic Records Chairman and CEO Craig Kallman, Francie Calfo (Empire), Ken Biller, Gigi Pritzker (Drive, Ender’s Game), Rachel Shane and Sam Sokolow. Lorne Balfe has composed the music for the first two seasons of Genius, which revolved around Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, with Hans Zimmer providing the main titles theme. Genius: Aretha will premiere on May 25, 2020 on National Geographic.

Blanchard has also recently scored the Kirby Dick- & Amy Ziering-directed documentary On the Record, which just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The composer also has Spike Lee’s next feature Da 5 Bloods coming up.

  1. Justin says:

    “Genius” is the series name, not “Genius: Aretha”; “Aretha” is the name of the episode.

    • JB says:

      No, it’s not, please stop commenting on things you don’t know anything about!

  2. Justin says:

    Don’t be an a$$.

    “EXCLUSIVE: Nat Geo is rounding out its cast for Genius: Aretha, the next installment of its popular anthology from Imagine Television and Fox 21 TV Studios that stars Cynthia Erivo as the Queen of Soul.”

    If you want to say Deadline is WRONG, then say Deadline is wrong.

    • Tom says:

      JB is right, Genius is the name of the entire series as a whole.

      In 2018 we got Genius: Picasso

      This year we’ll get Genius: Aretha.
      It’s not just one episode it’s multiple episodes, because it’s a miniseries

  3. Micheal says:

    Why no Balfe or Zimmer ?????

    • dirty_score says:

      Maybe since it’s a black artist, the producers recruted a black composer.

    • BB says:

      Because there are not only these “””””””composers””””””” in Hollywood