‘Roots’ Remake in the Works at History Channel


Back in 1977, the blockbuster mini-series Roots debuted on ABC, airing over eight consecutive nights and becoming one of the most-celebrated programs of the modern TV age. Now comes word from the folks over at Deadline that the History Channel is planning a new eight-hour mini-series that would “draw on both the book and the original mini from a contemporary perspective”.

The History Channel recently acquired the rights to the original 12-hour mini-series from Mark Wolper, the son of the late David L. Wolper, who was the executive producer on the mini-series as well as the rights to the book for which the mini was based on from the estate of author Alex Haley. Wolper will serve as executive producer on the new version with the network about to start discussions with writers.

‘Roots’ became an “unlikely hit” for ABC with a “largely black cast and a slavery theme”, breaking ratings records “with the conclusion drawing 100 million viewers, almost half of the entire country”. This blockbuster also helped “improve race relations and established David Wolper’s miniseries style of blending fact and fiction in a soap opera package”. In total ‘Roots’ earned a record 36 Emmy nominations, winning nine of the statuettes, including Best Limited Series, Best Supporting Actor for Ed Asner and music [among others].

Since it is early in the planning stages, the History Channel has no details on overall storyline, casting or possible airdates.