Cynthia Erivo, a 2020 Academy Awards nominee, stars as Aretha Franklin in the third season of the global anthology series. Set to perform Stand Up live during the Oscars, Erivo is nominated in two categories: Actress in a Leading Role and Music (Original Song) for the film Harriet.
Genius: Aretha will premiere over four consecutive nights, beginning Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, at 9/8c. The series will be the first authorized scripted limited series on the life of Aretha Franklin. The eight-part series will explore Franklin’s musical genius and career, and the immeasurable impact and lasting influence she has had on music and culture around the world.
The cast includes Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin; Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) as C.L. Franklin; David Cross as Jerry Wexler; Malcolm Barrett as Ted White; Pauletta Washington (She’s Gotta Have It) as Grandmother Rachel; Patrice Covington (Broadway’s The Color Purple) as Erma Franklin; Rebecca Naomi Jones (The Big Sick) as Carolyn Franklin; Steven Norfleet (Watchmen) as Cecil Franklin; Kimberly Hébert Gregory (Vice Principals) as Ruth Bowen; Omar J. Dorsey (Queen Sugar) as James Cleveland; Marque Richardson (Dear White People) as King Curtis; and introducing Shaian Jordan as Little Re.
Imagine is partnering with Warner Music Entertainment for this third season, which will again be executive produced by Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Suzan-Lori Parks is showrunner and executive producer, and Anthony Hemingway is executive producer and producing director for the season.
Record producer Clive Davis and Atlantic Records Chairman and CEO Craig Kallman have also joined as executive producers. Returning executive producers include Francie Calfo, Ken Biller, Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane (Mwm Studios), and Sam Sokolow (Eue/Sokolow). In addition, Imagine’s Anna Culp serves as producer alongside Peter Afterman.