Roots Redo to Air on History, A&E and Lifetime; LeVar Burton Named Producer

Roots Remake LeVar Burton

The previously announced Roots remake is mining the 1977 miniseries’ own roots, by adding original cast member LeVar Burton as a co-executive producer.

Additionally, Will Packer (Straight Outta Compton) has been added as an executive producer on the project, which will now be simulcast on History, A&E and Lifetime.

“My career began with Roots and I am proud to be a part of this new adaptation,” Burton, who portrayed Kunta Kinte on the original mini, said in a statement. “There is a huge audience of contemporary young Americans who do not know the story of Roots or its importance. I believe now is the right time to tell this story so that we can all be reminded of its impact on our culture and identity.”

Described as “an original” production that incorporates more material from Alex Haley’s novel than the 1977 miniseries did — and supplemented by “carefully researched new scholarship of the time” — Roots promises “a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family’s will to survive… despite enormous hardship and inhumanity.”

Spanning multiple generations, the lineage begins with young Kunta Kinte who is captured in his homeland in The Gambia and transported in brutal conditions to colonial America where he’s sold into slavery. Throughout the series, the family continues to face adversity while bearing witness and contributing to notable events in U.S. history – including the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings and eventual emancipation.

“Kunta Kinte began telling his story over 200 years ago, and that story went through his family lineage, to Alex Haley, to my father [Roots producer David Wolper], and now the mantle rests with me,” EP Marc Wolper said in a statement. “Like Kunta Kinte fought to tell his story over and over again, so must we.”

The miniseries is set to premiere sometime in 2016.

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10 Comments
  1. Et Al says:

    I’m glad to hear Levar Burton has escaped his pirate captors.

  2. Marquis Towns says:

    Why do we have to keep doing these slave n butler movies. White folks n black women loves to see black men in these roles. Gtfoh with this bs.

  3. Robert says:

    The first miniseries invoked some powerful emotions in me,I do not think I can go thru it again at my current age,especially with my heart. I do understand the need to remind people of the most ugly part of America’s history, right next to the utter destruction of the Native Americans. That old saying is true about us learning from the past or we are doomed to repeat the same terrible mistakes.

  4. TV Gord says:

    I’m curious to see how they handle the language and nudity of the original. I can see them avoid the nudity (although it will seem less realistic than the original), but I don’t believe they can avoid that one word that we’re not supposed to say anymore, even as a reference point.

    • Nan says:

      Apparently the POCs are adding to the taboo lexicon. Now, we supposedly cannot use the word “thug” anymore. When I hear the word thug I get a mental picture of Al Capone & Co. But now they are saying it’s the new “N” word. When is this madness going to stop? My ancestors were in Strasbourg France when all of this took place. I have nothing to feel apologetic about.

  5. mike says:

    They either three different things.

    1) Focus more on the family descendants of Kunta Kinte than of Kunta Kinte Himself.

    2) Do 2 hour biopics of each person. Which each descendant being in that other person biopic.

    3) Historical reenactments with talking head discussing slavery

  6. qj201 says:

    Are they leaving out the parts Alex Haley was accused of plagiarizing?

  7. Hi I am glad that. American can still remember there origin. It will br better if they should visit Gambia. Kunta kinte is my forefathers in Gambia. We are the same tribe. (The same ethnic group)( mandika). I will be glad to be part of it. U are welcome to know the horrible treatment that was give to our forefathers. Anyway that gone. We need to concertrate on the future. Black American have lot to know. They should know they are from america especially the Gambia. U can contact me if u want to locate Gambia and slave center in Gambia or on 002203615804 Thank u again Alex Haley. We still remember u.