AceShowbiz - During National Geographic's upfront presentation on Wednesday, April 19, the network announced that "Genius" had been renewed for a sophomore season ahead of its first season premiere on April 25. While the first season of the biopic anthology tells the story of legendary physicist Albert Einsten (played by Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Flynn at different ages), the subject of the upcoming season 2 is currently unknown.
The network teased during the presentation that the subject would not be revealed until the season 1 finale on June 20. FOX 21 Television Studios will once again produce the second season. Imagine Television's Brian Grazer and Ron Howard will executive produce alongside OddLot Entertainment's Gigi Pritzker. Ken Biller will also exec produce and serve as showrunner.
In addition to "Genius" second season renewal, Nat Geo announced another new project coming from Jay-Z. With the working title "Race", the new six-episode documentary TV series will explore the racial injustice in America with a combination of documentary, animation and archival footage, according to the description. The series marks the third collaboration of the rapper and The Weinstein Company and will be aired in 171 countries and 45 languages.
Nat Geo also used the event to introduce four more shows that they are currently developing. The four new shows include an untitled documentary series from Katie Couric. The series is set to debut in 2018, centering on a newswoman talking with global leaders "who are shaping the most pivotal, contentious and oftentimes confusing topics across the globe today."
Another project is "The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution". "The Birth of the Pill" is based on Jonathan Eig's 2014 book of the same name and follows feminist icon Margaret Sanger and philanthropist Katherine McComick, who fought for women's rights and championed birth control. Hailing from Sonar Entertainment, the series will be produced and directed by R.J. Cutler, with Denise DiNovi and Alison Greenspan exec-producing.
Meanwhile, "The Hot Zone" is an adaptation of the book written by Richard Preston. The series will be about an Ebola viral outbreak in the Washington D.C. suburbs in 1989. The series hails from Lynda Obst Productions, FOX 21 Television Studios and Scott Free Productions. Kelly Souders, Brian Peterson and Jeff Vintar are set to executive produce.
Also announced during the presentation was an untitled series about the origins of National Geographic's first TV documentaries in Siberia and Australia back in 1960s. The scripted series comes from Marti Noxon's Tiny Pyro Productions and will be written by Erik Jendresen. Skydance Television will also produce the series.