Monday, May 27, 2024

Nat Geo Channel’s “Genius” Moving to Disney Plus, Where You’ll Have to Pay for It Big Time


Always read the fine print in the contract.

Up til now, Nat Geo’s “Genius” series was on their channel, lumped into your cable tier. But starting with the next production, the sometimes fact based series is moving to Disney Plus. You’ll have to pay to stream it.

After sort of botching the Aretha Franklin “Genius” series, the producers are now moving on to Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. They’re going to be thrown together for the next series, which will combine their incredibly disparate stories.

According to a press release: “While King advanced racial equality through nonviolent protest, Malcolm X argued forcefully for Black empowerment, identity, and self-determination. With their formidable wives, Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz, by their sides, King and Malcolm X became synonymous with the civil rights era and the fight for racial and economic justice. While they met only once and often challenged each other’s views, neither would have been as successful without the other.”

Of course, we have Ava Duvernay’s excellent “Selma” and Spike Lee’s classic “Malcolm X” as precedents. But now screenwriter Jeff Stetson will weave together these two civil rights leaders in “Genius: MLK-X.” No word on casting yet.

Why did “Genius” leave its happy home at Nat Geo? Money is always the answer. The series is adding Reggie Rock Bythewood and Gina Prince-Bythewood as executive producers, but so far no King or Malcolm X scholars, historians, or experts. That’s what got them in trouble with Aretha.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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