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American Genius

American Genius

  • Premiered: 
    June 1, 2015
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Nat Geo
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Docudrama
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Historical
  • Tags: science, engineering, invention

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Plot Synopsis

Using re-enactments woven together with expert interviews -- many with modern-day visionaries like Steve Wozniak,, Bill Nye, Biz Stone, Mitt Romney, Lori Greiner, Craig Venter, Steve Wynn, Jack Welch and Michio Kaku -- AMERICAN GENIUS features the brilliant and irrepressible inventors that have made the United States the greatest hotbed of business in the world over the past 225 years. For America's boldest, most daring and most creative inventors, the greatest challenge wasn't beating the odds -- it was beating the competition. Behind every iconic innovator is a rival with vision, determination and ambition to match theirs. Each hour of AMERICAN GENIUS focuses on a specific rivalry, delving into the fierce power struggles, deceit, fluke timing and raw ambition out of which innovation was born, including these eight races:

- Colt vs. Wesson: The invention of the perfect revolver pits Samuel Colt and Daniel Wesson in a race for patents that will forever revolutionize the firearm industry.

- Tesla vs. Edison: Eccentric genius Nikola Tesla enters a rivalry with Thomas Edison that will forever change the world -- it is born out of a simple solution to a simple problem and a $50,000 wager.

- Hearst vs. Pulitzer: William Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer push the limits of journalism in unthinkable ways, forever changing the media landscape.

- Wright vs. Curtiss: The race for flight is chronicled as aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright face off against Glen Curtiss in a rivalry that puts lives at risk.

- Sarnoff vs. Farnsworth: The invention of television is born out of a gritty David vs. Goliath competition between David Sarnoff and Philo Farnsworth, who both lay stake in a precious claim.

- Oppenheimer vs. Heisenberg: Would WWII end with a whimper or a bang? The answer hinges on a heated contest between Werner Heisenberg and Robert Oppenheimer.

- Space Race: America and the Soviet Union set out to conquer the moon, but much more than space flight is at stake.

- Gates vs. Jobs: Two of America's most brilliant minds, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, battle to dominate a new age and, in the process, revolutionize billions of lives.
On Monday, June 22, 2015 from 9-11pm ET/PT, Nat Geo premiered the Season 1 finale of AMERICAN GENIUS, showing back-to-back new episodes. In the night's first episode (9pm), "Oppenheimer vs. Heisenberg," these two brilliant scientists toil through World War II with a single directive harness the laws of physics to create the most powerful weapon the world has ever seen. Oppenheimer gathers the United States' top minds as he embarks on the Manhattan Project, while Heisenberg toils away with Nazi Germany's leading scientists. The nuclear age is in full swing as the dueling scientists scramble to build a bomb that could have detrimental effects on civilization. Famed theoretical physicist Michio Kaku and others share their perspective on the race for global domination. Then, in the season finale (10pm), "Edison vs. Tesla," eccentric genius Nikola Tesla enters a rivalry with Thomas Edison that will forever change the world. Edison is one of the world's most prolific and well-known inventors, developing the phonograph, the motion picture camera and the commercially viable electric lightbulb. With backing from some of the world's wealthiest financiers, he sets out to one-up his invention by building an electric empire, using the power of direct current. But when his former assistant Tesla advocates for the use of a different kind of electric current, the two inventors go to war to determine who will power the world's future. Experts and authors, including famed theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, offer insight into the inventors' dramatic struggle.

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Stephen David Entertainment