Roots Remake in the Works at History

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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!



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Comments (36)

  • 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.

    Comment by Hana – November 5, 2013 11:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I think that is a great idea as well and an important story that needs more telling!

      Comment by DavidSask – November 5, 2013 12:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Certainly better than rehashing a classic. Native Americans have been ignored for far too long. And it’s their country!

      Comment by Stormy – November 5, 2013 01:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I got chills thinking about what a great story this would be! Roots was an important story, but it was already told.

      Comment by zaza – November 5, 2013 01:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Areally good idea that I am surprised hasn’t been thought of by any producers up to now

      Comment by Joe Smith – November 5, 2013 03:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Amanda – November 5, 2013 11:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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.

      Comment by Claire – November 5, 2013 12:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree! The original will be hard to top, it was powerful and the casting was perfect. Don’t know about his idea…

      Comment by Cheeky – November 5, 2013 12:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • ^THIS!

      Comment by Aimee – November 5, 2013 12:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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.

      Comment by TigerNightmare – November 5, 2013 01:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I completely agree. The original is sacred.

      Comment by knd – November 5, 2013 01:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • There is only one Kunta Kinte and his name is Jorde LaForge.

    Comment by Dijea (@Dijea) – November 5, 2013 12:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • LOL. Indeed. It would hard to find a better actor to play this part.

      Comment by Teeny Bikini – November 6, 2013 11:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cool, can’t wait! Have heard my parents talk about this in the past but never got around to watching the original.

    Comment by Jay – November 5, 2013 12:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You should get it on Netflix.

      Comment by Butters – November 5, 2013 02:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You don’t have to wait, just watch the original, duh!

      Comment by wayne – November 6, 2013 07:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Do they really think they can do it better than the previous version or are they just short on original ideas?

    Comment by Larc – November 5, 2013 12:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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?

    Comment by Ayannali – November 5, 2013 12:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Jackie – November 5, 2013 12:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh now, that’s interesting. I hadn’t considered that they might alter the original script as well to adhere more closely to the book.

      Comment by Teeny Bikini – November 6, 2013 11:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Can we start the campaign now to get Michael B Jordan as Kunta Kinte?

    Comment by Lauren Taylor – November 5, 2013 12:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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!

    Comment by DavidSask – November 5, 2013 12:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • with an all white cast!

    Comment by Dennis – November 5, 2013 12:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Uggggh! Terrible idea! Who would want to see a remake of Roots???

      Comment by nikki – November 5, 2013 12:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Dear Hollywood, stop with the remakes already and come up with an original idea.

    Comment by knd – November 5, 2013 01:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by cj – November 5, 2013 02:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Butters – November 5, 2013 02:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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.

      Comment by Teeny Bikini – November 6, 2013 11:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I really need networks to stop ruining my childhood.

    Comment by TheTVJunkee – November 5, 2013 04:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Another pointless remake. Hollywood is out of ideas.

    Comment by Abe Froman – November 5, 2013 06:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Linderella – November 5, 2013 07:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is so not necessary. The original is a masterpiece and should remain as is.

    Comment by Liz – November 5, 2013 07:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Kimberly Roots gets to do the Roots story. Ha.

    Comment by CourtTV – November 6, 2013 08:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why not a live musical version? Starring Carrie Underwood? I mean Audra McDonald!

    Comment by sheri – November 6, 2013 12:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by MamaLyn MamaLyn – November 18, 2013 12:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
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    Comment by Charity – March 7, 2014 11:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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