Today, National Geographic Channel announced plans for Genius, the network’s first ever scripted series.
The ambitious anthology series is a partnership between the network, Fox 21 Television Studios (Homeland, The People v. O.J. Simpson), Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Television (24, Empire), OddLot Entertainment (Rosewater; The Way, Way Back) and EUE/Sokolow.
Howard will direct the series premiere, with each season spotlighting one of the world’s most brilliant minds. Season 1 will focus on the guy whose name is synonymous with the idea of genius — Albert Einstein — and will be adapted from Walter Isaacson’s critically-acclaimed book Einstein: His Life and Universe by writer Noah Pink. Pink will also co-executive produce.
According to the announcement, the series will “uncover how an imaginative, rebellious patent clerk named Albert Einstein— a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate — unlocked the mysteries of the atom and the universe. Each episode will explore the iconoclast behind these extraordinary scientific achievements, including his political activism, family life and volatile and complex personal relationships.”
“We couldn’t be happier to be working with Imagine and OddLot to bring our spirit of creative adventure and passion for great storytelling to Nat Geo as they embark on their first scripted series. And to have Ron direct the first episode is incredibly exciting,” commented Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke in the Nat Geo statement. “Genius is a franchise with infinite possibilities. We think this installment that tells the fascinating backstory of the man who articulated the theory of relativity is just the beginning of a long and successful partnership between our companies.”
“Having already worked with National Geographic on Breakthrough and currently in production on MARS — our exciting unscripted and scripted hybrid series that tells of our journey to colonize 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.”
Production will begin in Prague this summer. Genius will debut on Nat Geo in spring of 2017.