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Cynthia Erivo cast as Aretha Franklin in 'Genius' season 3

This combination photo shows Cynthia Erivo performing at the 73rd annual Tony Awards in New York on June 9, 2019, left, and Aretha Franklin performing at the world premiere of 'Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives' at Radio City Music Hall in New York on April 19, 2017. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) -- National Geographic has found its next "Genius."

    The network has tapped Cynthia Erivo to play Aretha Franklin in a third installment of the anthology series.

    The authorized project will feature Franklin's music. Erivo will perform songs from the singer's catalog. Franklin died in 2018 of pancreatic cancer at age 76.

    Erivo won a Tony Award, a Grammy and a Daytime Emmy for her work in "The Color Purple."

    "Genius" dramatizes the story of some of the world's most legendary innovators. Previous seasons focused on Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, starring Geoffrey Rush and Antonio Banderas.

    Production on "Genius: Aretha" will begin next month. The series is expected to debut next spring.

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