Critically acclaimed “Genius” anthology series earned 20 Emmy nominations for its first three seasons before moving from National Geographic and Hulu to Disney+. Season 4, titled “Genius: MLK/X,” takes on not one but two Civil Rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, in a first for the series.
“Genius: MLK-X” showrunners and executive producers Raphael Jackson, Jr. and Damione Macedon set out to explore the formative years, pioneering accomplishments, dueling philosophies, and key personal relationships of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Screenwriter Jeff Stetson is penning the pilot.
Per an official series description, “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.”
The Disney+ original series from National Geographic will be executive produced by Reggie Rock Bythewood and Gina Prince-Bythewood and produced by Imagine Television Studios and 20th Television. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard will also return as executive producers, along with Francie Calfo and Anna Culp.
Executive producers the Bythewoods said, “Malcolm and Martin are staggering icons, and we have been eager to explore the genius of these two very real men in a way that has not yet been seen. We are excited to team up with Imagine Entertainment and 20th Television to reflect on their amazing lives and contributions to civil rights and the urgency of today.”
Reggie Rock Bythewood is creator and showrunner of “Swagger,” the Apple TV+ series from Imagine Television inspired by NBA superstar Kevin Durant’s youth basketball experiences. His wife and creative partner, Gina Prince-Bythewood, is directing the historical epic “The Woman King,” starring Academy Award winner Viola Davis and “Underground Railroad” breakout Thuso Mbedu. The Bythewoods together also co-created the series “Shots Fired.”
Prior to taking the reins on “Genius: MLK-X,” co-showrunners Jackson and Macedon were consulting producers on “The Mosquito Coast” for Apple TV+.
The first entry in the “Genius” anthology series premiered in 2017 on National Geographic with Geoffrey Rush starring as Albert Einstein.
The follow-up season, “Genius: Picasso,” starred Antonio Banderas as the titular Spanish painter and matched much of the success of its predecessor. The third installment, “Genius: Aretha,” starred Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin and premiered as the most-watched telecast for National Geographic in two years.
No casting news has been announced as of print for “Genius: MLK/X.”