The coronavirus pandemic has halted production on a number of film and TV projects, including the newest Genius series from National Geographic. Originally set to premiere May 25, the third season of the Genius anthology highlights the life and career of the late music legend Aretha Franklin, played by Tony winner Cynthia Erivo.
With production suspended, the series will not be completed on time. Variety reports that the premiere date has been postponed, with a new date not yet announced.
Genius: Aretha also features Oklahoma!'s Rebecca Naomi Jones and Patrice Covington (who appeared in The Color Purple with Erivo) as Franklin's sisters Carolyn and Erma, respectively. Malcolm Barrett stars as Ted White, Kimberly Hébert Gregory is Ruth Bowen, and Sanai Victoria is young Aretha.
Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks serves as showrunner for Genius: Aretha and executive produces with Clive Davis, Craig Kallman, Rachel Shane, Gigi Pritzkerand, and Anthony Hemingway, who also directs.
Meanwhile, Respect, a feature film biopic on Franklin, is currently in post-production, with Erivo's The Color Purple co-star Jennifer Hudson playing the singer. Directed by Liesl Tommy, the cast also includes Tony winner Audra McDonald, Saycon Sengbloh, Tituss Burgess, Hailey Kilgore, and Heather Headley.