WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--National Geographic announced today that the second season of its acclaimed scripted anthology series GENIUS will chronicle the life and work of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, one of the 20th century’s most influential and celebrated artists. The new season, from Fox 21 Television Studios, will again be executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment, Madison Wells Media’s OddLot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow, and will premiere in 2018. The first season of GENIUS, which concluded last night, was watched by more than 45 million people around the world, and is National Geographic’s best performing new series launch ever.
The artistic career of Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso spanned more than 80 of his 91 years, much of it in his second home of France. Much like the subject of the first season of GENIUS, Albert Einstein, Picasso imagined and interpreted the world in totally new and unorthodox ways, and constantly reinvented our perceptions of art and creativity. The prolific artist generated more than 50,000 works, among the most notable being The Old Guitarist from his Blue Period, now on display at the Art Institute of Chicago; Guernica, inspired by the Nazi bombing of a small Spanish town of the same name, currently on display at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain; and Les Demoiselles D’Avignon, inspired by lover and muse Fernande Olivier, now on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
His passionate nature and relentless creative drive were inextricably linked to his personal life, which included tumultuous marriages, numerous affairs and constantly shifting political and personal alliances. He lived most of his life in the vibrant Paris of the first half of the 20th Century and crossed paths with writers and artists including Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Gertrude Stein, Georges Braque, and Jean Cocteau. Picasso constantly reinvented himself, always striving to innovate and push the boundaries of artistic expression.
Showrunner, executive producer and writer Ken Biller will continue his role overseeing the new season. The second season will also once again hail from From Fox 21 Television Studios, whose recent “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” dominated every awards contest and critics’ list; 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; and Madison Wells Media’s OddLot Entertainment, which earlier this year produced the Academy Award®- nominated film “Hell or High Water,” with executive producers Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane. Sam Sokolow and Jeff Cooney from EUE/Sokolow are also executive producers. Filming is expected to begin later this summer for a 2018 premiere on National Geograhic Channels in 171 countries and 45 languages.
“We are thrilled with the enthusiastic response audiences and critics have had for GENIUS over the last nine weeks, and are excited to be delving back in to the concept with season two,” said CEO of National Geographic Global Networks Courteney Monroe. “More so than any of his contemporaries, Picasso's work dramatically expressed the modern age and defined new cultural norms. We are excited to explore his life and his genius with the incredibly talented team behind the series."
“The remarkable story of artistic visionary Pablo Picasso is the perfect subject for season two of GENIUS” said executive producer Ron Howard. “Picasso was a trailblazer who left a profound artistic and cultural impact on the world and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership with National Geographic and Fox 21 Television Studios in telling the untold story behind the brilliant individual.”
“Season one has been a fantastic experience for all of us, and we owe a big debt to Courteney, Carolyn and the Nat Geo team for being such great partners,” commented Bert Salke, president of Fox 21 Television Studios. “Picasso is arguably one of the most influential artists of the last century with a life story almost too fantastic to be reality. It’s the perfect next chapter for Ron, Brian, Ken and this franchise.”
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, the first season of GENIUS starred Geoffrey Rush as professor Albert Einstein, Johnny Flynn as Einstein in his youth, and Emily Watson as Albert’s second wife – and first cousin – Elsa Einstein. Over 10 episodes, the series explored how Albert became Einstein, including his rise from humble origins as an imaginative, rebellious thinker, through his struggles to be recognized by the establishment, to his global celebrity status as the man who unlocked the mysteries of the cosmos with his theory of relativity.
GENIUS is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, Imagine Television, Madison Wells Media’s Oddlot Entertainment, and EUE/Sokolow.
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 128 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 171 countries and 45 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, Google+, 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 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); 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; “Dice,” from Scot Armstrong, Sean Furst, Bryan Furst, Richard Shepard, Bruce Rubenstein and Andrew Dice Clay; “Queen of the South,” executive produced by David T. Friendly and Natalie Chaidez; and “Chance” from Kem Nunn, Alexandra Cunningham, Lenny Abrahamson, Michael London, and Brian Grazer. Recent series include GENIUS (with Imagine, OddLot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow) from Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, Gigi Pritzker, Rachel Shane, Sam Sokolow, Jeff Cooney, Ken Biller and Noah Pink; “Seven Seconds” from Veena Sud; and Ryan Murphy’s latest anthology, “FEUD: Bette and Joan,” starring Oscar winners Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon.
About Imagine Entertainment:
Imagine Entertainment was founded in 1986 by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer to create independently produced feature films, television programs and other original programming. Imagine Entertainment has been honored with more than 60 prestigious awards including 10 Academy Awards and 42 Emmy awards. Past productions include the Academy Award Best Picture winner “A Beautiful Mind,” as well as Grammy Award Best Film winner “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week — The Touring Years.” Additional films include “Get on Up,” “Rush,” “J. Edgar,” “Frost/Nixon,” “American Gangster,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Apollo 13,” “8 Mile,” “Liar, Liar,” “Backdraft” and “Parenthood,” to name a few. Upcoming films include “Lowriders,” “The Dark Tower” and “American Made.” Television productions include Fox’s “Empire” and “24” franchise, Nat Geo’s MARS and Breakthrough, NBC’s “Parenthood” and “Friday Night Lights,” Fox’s and Netflix’s “Arrested Development,” and HBO's “From the Earth to the Moon,” for which Howard and Grazer won the Emmy for Outstanding Mini-Series. Upcoming television productions include Fox’s “Shots Fired” and Nat Geo’s Genius. 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 chairmen.
About Madison Wells Media’s OddLot Entertainment:
Founded in 2001 by producer Gigi Pritzker, Madison Wells Media’s 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. OddLot 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, OddLot produced 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. OddLot’s 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.” OddLot CEO Gigi Pritzker is part of a consortium that launched the film studio STX Entertainment founded by producer Robert Simonds. OddLot has a preferential co-producing, financing and development deal with STX. The company is based in Los Angeles, California, and is a subsidiary of Madison Wells Media, a diversified premium content company.
Founded in 2010 by producer/director Jeff Cooney and veteran television producer Sam Sokolow, EUE/Sokolow is an independent television studio that develops, finances, produces and arranges the distribution of premium television shows and content. EUE/Sokolow attracts high-end talent to develop television properties in a forward thinking business model designed for today’s global television marketplace. Recently, EUE/Sokolow independently produced pilot/presentations of “Co-Op”, a television show created by and starring Zachary Levi and written & directed by Nancy Hower & John Lehr; “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 Pitbull’s Honey, I’m Home Inc on a currently 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 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).