National Geographic Channel (NGC) in the US is pushing further into drama with its first fully scripted series, directed by Ron Howard.
Nat Geo has gone straight to series on Genius, described as a multi-season scripted anthology series, with the first season based on Walter Isaacson’s book Einstein: His Life and Universe, adapted by writer Noah Pink.
Oscar-winner Ron Howard will direct the first episode, with Homeland producer Fox 21 Television Studios, Imagine Television, Oddlot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow onboard to produce.
Production is expected to begin this summer in Prague and the series will premiere on Nat Geo next spring, in 171 countries and 45 languages.
Each further season of the anthology will dramatise the life stories of some of the world’s most brilliant innovators, the names of which have not yet been revealed.
Howard has been working recently with NGC as an exec producer on its six-part unscripted/scripted hybrid series Mars, which is due to debut this fall.
This forms part of a scripted strategy that has also seen the channel break ratings records with feature-length one-offs such as Killing Kennedy, Killing Lincoln and Killing Jesus. It has also aired miniseries such as Saints & Strangers but this is the first fully scripted series commissioned for the network.
“Genius is perfectly emblematic of our vision to create premium, distinctive and highly entertaining content that fits the National Geographic brand,” said NGC CEO Courteney Monroe.
“Genius is a franchise with infinite possibilities. We think this instalment 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,” said Fox 21 Television Studios’ president Bert Salke.