'Genius': Mary Shelley, 'Frankenstein' Creator, Set as Season 3 Subject

The news comes days before season two — exploring Pablo Picasso — premieres on National Geographic.
Courtesy of National Geographic

Days ahead of the second season bow of National Geographic's scripted anthology Genius, the cable network has effectively renewed the series for a third season and selected its subject: Frankenstein creator Mary Shelley.

The announcement capped Wednesday's upfront presentation for the network, a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox. During the presentation, a short trailer played, teasing Genius’ third installment. “It can expand out universe, it can leave a mark. And sometimes, she can make a monster,” a banner read, referring to Shelley’s iconic character from her 1818 novel. Casting has not yet been determined.

The news comes as season two of the Emmy-nominated anthology is set to explore the life of artist Pablo Picasso with Antonio Banderas taking on the lead role for Nat Geo.

"Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein left an indelible mark on generations of imaginations,” said Carolyn Bernstein, executive vp 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."   

Ken Biller will continue to serve as showrunner, executive producer and writer on the third season of the drama from Fox 21 Television Studios. Imagine's Brian Grazer and Ron Howard exec produce alongside Francie Calfo and producer Anna Culp. Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane will exec produce for MWM Studios and Sam Sokolow and Jeff Cooney will oversee for EUE/Sokolow. Filming will begin later this year.

"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 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." 

Season one of Genius, which starred Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein, earned 10 Emmy nominations. Season two bows Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Nat Geo.