NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ANNOUNCES MARY SHELLEY, CREATOR OF FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER, AS THE SUBJECT FOR THIRD SEASON OF CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED SCRIPTED ANTHOLOGY SERIES
From Imagine Entertainment and Fox 21 Television Studios,
Season Three to Chronicle the Life of Trailblazing Author, Feminist,
and Radical Intellectual
Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Ken Biller, Francie Calfo and Gigi Pritzker to Return as Executive Producers; Ken Biller Also Set to Return as Showrunner
Season Two — GENIUS: PICASSO, starring Antonio Banderas as Pablo Picasso —premieres Tuesday April 24 at 9/8c on National Geographic
(WASHINGTON, D.C. / NEW YORK – APRIL 18, 2018) On the eve of the premiere of GENIUS: PICASSO on Tuesday April 24, National Geographic announced today that the third season of its acclaimed scripted anthology series will bring to life the myth maker and towering literary figure Mary Shelley. From Fox 21 Television Studios, the new season will again be executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment, MWM Studios and EUE/Sokolow, and will premiere globally on National Geographic in 172 countries and 43 languages in 2019. The first season of GENIUS was watched by more than 45 million people around the world, and was National Geographic’s best performing new series launch ever.
A brilliant thinker, radical intellectual and proto-feminist, Mary Shelley (1797-1851) brought to life one of the most enduring stories of the modern age while still a teenager. Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus is a cautionary tale of unchecked scientific ambition and a sophisticated meditation on social institutions, personal freedom and compassion that has captured imaginations and continues to be relevant since it was first published 200 years ago. Shelley masterfully invented the Science Fiction/Horror genre with her tale of a creature brought to life, subsequently going on to create the Post-Apocalyptic genre with her later novel, The Last Man.
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An intellectual prodigy who was inspired from an early age by the writing of her unconventional mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, Shelley was determined to prove that women were the intellectual and creative equals of men. One of few women to support herself as an author during the early 18th century, Shelley wrote short stories, reviews, travelogues, and made prolific contributions to the world’s first encyclopedia, she also wrote six novels. Shelley’s inner circle included countless literary and scientific luminaries of the day, including Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary and Charles Lamb, Humphry Davy and Leigh Hunt.
Shelley met the love of her life, Romantic poet, amateur scientist and still-married Percy Bysshe Shelley, at the age of 16. After losing her virginity to Shelley at her mother’s gravesite, the pair eloped and were cast out by her father, the radical intellectual William Godwin. Shelley was to endure a lifetime of tragic misfortune, watching three of her four children die, losing multiple friends and family members to suicide, and outliving her husband, who drowned at sea. In true gothic style, Shelley elected to keep her late husband’s heart after his death
Shelley’s writing was heavily influenced by the great scientific innovation and experimentation of the early 19th century. Scientists like Luigi Galvani, Giovanni Aldini and Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles, figured prominently in her life. The story of Frankenstein was inspired in part by one of the most important scientific theories of the time, Galvanism, the study of the effect of electricity on the dead bodies of animals and humans.
Mary Shelley spent the last few years of her life being looked after by her only surviving child, Percy Florence Shelley, before dying of a brain tumor at the age of 53.
Showrunner, executive producer and writer Ken Biller will continue his role overseeing the new season. The third season will also once again hail from From Fox 21 Television Studios, whose recent “The Chi” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” have enthralled critics and audiences, and Imagine Television, the producer of “24” and “Empire” with executive producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard along with executive producer Francie Calfo and producer Anna Culp. Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane are executive producers for MWM Studios and Sam Sokolow and Jeff Cooney are executive producers for EUE/Sokolow. Filming is expected to begin later this year.
“Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein left an indelible mark on generations of imaginations,” said Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president, global development and production for National Geographic Global Networks. ” Equally inspiring is the story of Shelley’s relentless innovation, coupled with her desire to live on her own unconventional terms despite immense societal and cultural obstacles. I can’t wait for our talented team to bring her remarkable, relevant and timely story to life for season three of GENIUS and do justice to her literary legacy.”
“Mary Shelley has inspired countless filmmakers with her tale of the wretch brought to life by science gone wrong, but very few have fully captured her insightful reflections on society in the myth she left behind,” said executive producer Ron Howard. “Few know of her struggles due to gender inequities, her additional writings, her influence on other historically significant individuals and society at large. Showcasing someone like Mary Shelley and her amazing intellect, compassion and fortitude is exactly what this series is for, and we are looking forward to continuing our successful partnership with National Geographic and Fox 21 Television Studios.”
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“Our experience with Courteney, Carolyn and the Nat Geo team has been phenomenal, and our award-winning first season exceeded even our own high expectations,” said Bert Salke, president of Fox 21 Television Studios. “Audiences are in for a treat with our follow-up, featuring a transformative performance by Antonio Banderas as our Picasso, and a compelling story created by Ken Biller. The choice of Mary Shelley as the subject of our third season speaks to the incredible depth of the franchise. How fitting at this moment in time to pivot to one of the many female geniuses in human history, and Mary’s story is both stranger than fiction and incredibly dramatic. We can’t wait to get started.”
The first season of GENIUS, starring Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein, earned ten Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe nomination and SAG Award nomination, and was hailed as “Joyful to watch” by the Los Angeles Times, “Compelling” by The New York Times, and featuring “Superb performances” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
GENIUS is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, Imagine Television, MWM Studios, and EUE/Sokolow.
For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com or our press site natgeotvpressroom.com, or follow us on Twitter using @NGC_PR.
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About National Geographic Partners LLC:
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 130 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
About Fox 21 Television Studios:
Fox 21 Television Studios is a production unit housed within Fox Television Group devoted to making creatively ambitious scripted and unscripted series for all distribution platforms. Fox 21 Television Studios is responsible for the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning sensation from Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (with FX Productions) as well as its follow-up “The Assassination of Gianni Versace;” the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning “Homeland,” starring Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin; the critically acclaimed “The Americans” (with FX Productions) starring Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell; “Seven Seconds” from Veena Sud and “Queen of the South,” executive produced by David T. Friendly and Natalie Chaidez. Upcoming series include “Pose” from Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Alexis Martin Woodall and Sherry Marsh, with Steven Canals as co-executive producer, and Janet Mock, Our Lady J and Erica Kay as producers and Kurt Sutter and Elgin James’ “Mayans,” the follow-up to the blockbuster “Sons of Anarchy.”
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About Imagine Television:
Imagine Television was founded in 1986 by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard and is run by Imagine Television Group Chairman, Francie Calfo. The company’s television programs have been honored with 187 Emmy Nominations and 25 Golden Globe nominations. Current programming includes Fox’s award winning series “Empire,” Netflix’s “Arrested Development,” and NatGeo’s “Genius,” “Mars” and “Breakthrough” series. Earlier productions include Fox’s Golden Globe and Emmy® award winning Best Drama Series “24”; NBC’s Peabody Award winning series “Friday Night Lights”; Fox’s Emmy® award winning Best Comedy “Arrested Development”; Fox’s “Shots Fired”; Fox’s “Lie To Me”; CBS’s “Shark”; NBC’s “Miss Match”; WB’s “Felicity”; ABC’s “SportsNight”; and HBO’s “From the Earth to the Moon”, which won the Emmy® for Outstanding Mini-Series. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer began their collaboration in 1985 with the hit comedies “Night Shift” and “Splash”, and continue to run Imagine Entertainment as Executive Chairmen.
About MWM Studios:
Founded in 2001 by producer Gigi Pritzker, MWM Studios (formerly OddLot Entertainment) is a film and television production company that develops, produces, finances and arranges distribution for quality commercial properties for the U.S. and international markets. MWM Studios teams with first-class filmmakers and provides them with resources that go far beyond equity investment to produce a range of high-quality films. Most recently, they produced the first season of “Genius” for National Geographic, which went on to be nominated for ten Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe, as well as the Academy Award-nominated film “Hell or High Water,” written by Taylor Sheridan and starring Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster, for CBS Films. MWM Studios’ past releases include the 2010 Academy Award-nominated drama “Rabbit Hole,” starring Nicole Kidman; “The Way Way Back,” starring Steve Carell; “Drive,” starring Ryan Gosling; the futuristic sci-fi film “Ender’s Game;” and Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, “Rosewater.” MWM Studios is a division of MWM, a diversified media and entertainment company empowering creators to cross-pollinate content between film, television, live event, digital video and AR/VR in order to grow brands in a more enriching, entertaining and engaging way.
About EUE/Sokolow Entertainment:
Founded in 2010 by producer/director Jeff Cooney and veteran television producer Sam Sokolow, EUE/Sokolow Entertainment is an independent television studio that develops, finances, produces and arranges the distribution of premium television shows and content. EUE/Sokolow Entertainment attracts high-end talent to develop television properties in a forward-thinking business model designed for today’s global television marketplace. EUE/Sokolow is currently developing AJ Lee’s New York Times best seller “Crazy Is My Superpower” and Deepak Chopra’s novel “Lords Of Light” for television and has recently independently produced pilot/presentations of “Diplomatic Immunity”, a comedy starring Australian comedy troupe The Peloton; “Shalom Y’all”, a comedy by showrunner Caryn Lucas based on the work of Julia Fowler; “Win With Les”, starring Josh Lucas and created and written by Blair Singer; and are in development with Jaleel White and social media platform MiTu on an untitled original digital series. Since opening their doors, Cooney & Sokolow have set up shows at HBO, ABC, NBC, Freeform, Nat Geo, TNT, E!, Lifetime Movie Network & OWN. EUE/Sokolow Entertainment is a subsidiary of EUE/Screen Gems, whose infrastructure includes studio complexes in Atlanta, Wilmington and Miami that have been home to productions such as “Stranger Things” (Netflix, “Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” (Lionsgate), “Sleepy Hollow” (Fox), “Iron Man 3” (Marvel Studios), “Six” (A&E/History Channel), “The Conjuring” (New Line Cinema), “Under the Dome” (CBS), “East Bound and Down” (HBO).
For National Geographic:
Chris Albert, 202-912-6526, Chris.Albert@natgeo.com
Jennifer DeGuzman, 212-656-0713, Jennifer.DeGuzman@natgeo.com
For Fox 21 Television Studios:
Chris Alexander, 310-369-1044, Chris.Alexander@fox.com