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‘Genius: Aretha’ Becomes Latest Emmy Contender Ousted By Delay

And yet the limited series Emmy race remains overstuffed.

Cynthia Erivo Aretha Franklin

Cynthia Erivo in “Genius: Aretha”

National Geographic/Richard DuCree

Another week, another limited series Emmy Award contender knocked out of the race. National Geographic announced Monday that because of the industry-wide shutdown plaguing projects across Hollywood, “Genius: Aretha” would not be debuting as planned over Memorial Day weekend.

NatGeo originally planned to roll the latest iteration of the “Genius” franchise out over four consecutive nights in late May, just days before the end of the Emmy Awards eligibility period on May 31.

The network isn’t wrong to expect big things from the limited series, which will feature Tony and Grammy-winning actress and singer Cynthia Erivo as the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin. Previous seasons focused on Albert Einstein (played by Geoffrey Rush) and Pablo Picasso (Antonio Banderas), and each found great success at the Emmy Awards, earning 10 and seven nominations apiece, respectively.

In the statement given to the press, NatGeo mentioned that they were anxious to “let Aretha’s voice sing” before quoting Franklin herself: “Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people. And your social contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well.”

“In that spirit,” the statement continued, “we wish all of our viewers well in these challenging times, particularly those who are working in our communities to keep us all safe.”

The disappointing, if unsurprising, announcement comes two weeks after a similar decision from FX that the debut of “Fargo” Season 4 had been indefinitely postponed. Both “Fargo” and “Genius: Aretha” were caught in the crossfire as many studios and production companies announced production shutdowns related to public health measures.

And while the Television Academy did make adjustments to the Emmy Awards calendar last week, there’s yet to be any indication that the organization is contemplating an extension of the eligibility window, in order to allow for stymied competitors to participate in this year’s festivities.

Despite the suspension of For Your Consideration events and even though the September ceremonies still shimmer like some illusive mirage on the horizon, near-certain to disappear in time, Emmy Season is still underway. To that end, make sure to check out the remaining contenders in limited series, who still face fierce competition despite a lack of “Fargo” and “Genius: Aretha” in the field.

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