Roots Remake in the Works at History

Roots Miniseries Remake HistoryKunta Kinte lives.

The cable network History is planning a new version of the iconic 1977 miniseries Roots, our sister site Deadline reports.

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The highly rated, award-winning original TV event, which aired on ABC,  was based on Alex Haley’s book, Roots: The Saga of an American Family and starred LeVar Burton as Kunta Kinte, an African man captured in the 1700s and sold into slavery.

Haley’s work tells the story of the man and his descendants, one of whom allegedly was Haley himself.

History has obtained rights to the 1977 version and to Haley’s book; Mark Wolper (Bates Motel), son of Roots EP David L. Wolper, is attached to exec-produce.

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The new project will cast a modern eye on the story told in the book and ’70s movie, thereby reviving “that cultural icon for a new audience,” History executive vice president and general manager Dirk Hoogstra tells the site.

History had great success in the recent past with two other miniseries: The Bible, the premiere of which grabbed 13.1 million viewers, and Hatfields & McCoys, whose finale drew 14.3 million pairs of eyeballs.

Would you watch a Roots remake? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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36 Comments
  1. Hana says:

    I would rather see a Native American version of “Roots” instead. Follow Native Americans across the centuries as their homelands were invaded by whites. That would be something new and necessary for this country and could actually have a real cultural impact.

  2. Amanda says:

    They are not going to get a better cast than the original Roots, I would rather see them re-air the original and have the cast members share memories of its making.

    • Claire says:

      I completely agree. The entertainment industry’s obsession with remakes (especially of things that were done right the first time) is reaching a maddening level. What could a new version possibly add? CGI effects? Wait, don’t want to give them any ideas.

    • Cheeky says:

      I agree! The original will be hard to top, it was powerful and the casting was perfect. Don’t know about his idea…

    • I was going to say this. What the hell. The original Roots was/is essential viewing for American culture. I wasn’t even born when it aired originally. I watched it with my classmates in 5th grade, back when they used actual film reels on crummy busted projectors.

    • knd says:

      I completely agree. The original is sacred.

  3. There is only one Kunta Kinte and his name is Jorde LaForge.

  4. Jay says:

    Cool, can’t wait! Have heard my parents talk about this in the past but never got around to watching the original.

  5. Larc says:

    Do they really think they can do it better than the previous version or are they just short on original ideas?

  6. Ayannali says:

    I guess I would want to know the motovation for doing a remake…I mean it is a story about one’s family (allegedly according to the article)
    How is a Modern eye going to change the way things looked in the past? Add lens flares?

  7. Jackie says:

    I hope the remake adheres to the book more closely. I grew up hearing about Roots, and I enjoyed the book. When I saw the miniseries I was so disappointed because of the deviations from the book.

  8. Can we start the campaign now to get Michael B Jordan as Kunta Kinte?

  9. DavidSask says:

    Some things are sacred and should never be touched, ROOTS is one of them! I hope people revolt or if it does come to happen don’t watch!

  10. Dennis says:

    with an all white cast!

  11. knd says:

    Dear Hollywood, stop with the remakes already and come up with an original idea.

  12. cj says:

    I just watched Roots for the first time a couple months ago. Amazing! It holds up and is timeless. I shudder to think of the slick remake that would come out now. Whoever suggested the Native American version is onto something. Covering the first thanksgiving and all the conflcits white man brought to their land – French-Indian war and War for Independence and how they were involved. Could be some awesome TV right there.

  13. Butters says:

    This is just a bad idea. Remaking Roots is like remaking Casablanca or Star Wars. It is just not necessary. I like the idea about the Native Americans or maybe, why doesn’t Hollywood read more and maybe try to make Chesapeake into a miniseries.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Agreed. Don’t touch classics. At least not this one. I would love to know the “why” behind this remake – maybe it would make more sense to me… “Cast[ing] a modern eye” on this story sounds dreadful.

  14. TheTVJunkee says:

    I really need networks to stop ruining my childhood.

  15. Abe Froman says:

    Another pointless remake. Hollywood is out of ideas.

  16. Linderella says:

    I too loved the original. It was “must see TV” when it aired in 1977. It was effective historical storytelling. That being said, I can see a remake with a cast that would be more relevant to today’s young audiences and entice them to watch this compelling story. I would love to see LaVar Burton play the older Kunta Kinte role portrayed by John Amos or perhaps portray the Alex Haley role at the end of the series. There are many fine black actors who could do justice to these roles so closely associated with the series. Are we not to have new renditions of King Lear or Hamlet because Laurence Olivier was attached to the parts? I think that sells the material and the story short as well as today’s relevant black actors. I’d look forward to watching this series just as I would a new series about Native Americans and their disenfranchisement from the New World by Old World invaders.

  17. Liz says:

    This is so not necessary. The original is a masterpiece and should remain as is.

  18. CourtTV says:

    Kimberly Roots gets to do the Roots story. Ha.

  19. sheri says:

    Why not a live musical version? Starring Carrie Underwood? I mean Audra McDonald!

  20. Why all the re-makes?? Aren’t there enough original ideas any more. Ironsides was sure a bust. Please no Murder She Wrote, Roots, or Remington Steele remakes.
    I love the Native Americans idea. Esp starting back where they came from and their philosophy. I hope they would cast REAL Native Americans in those parts.
    Reminds me of how much I liked VIKINGS.

  21. Charity says:

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