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“Roots,” the classic 1977 miniseries that aired on ABC, is making a return to the small screen as a remake equipped with three networks on tap to reintroduce it to viewers as an event series.
TheWrap.com reports the remake will be executive produced by Will Packer (“Ride Along,” “Think Like a Man”) and Mark Wolper, whose Wolper Organization produced the original “Roots” miniseries. In addition, original “Roots” star LeVar Burton will serve as co-executive producer.
“My career began with ‘Roots’ and I am proud to be a part of this new adaptation,” Burton 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.”
Based on Alex Haley’s 1976 book of the same name, the original “Roots” chronicles the history of Haley’s family from the abduction from Africa of Kunta Kinte, who was sold into slavery, through the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and emancipation. In addition to Burton, the miniseries starred Louis Gossett, Jr., John Amos, Ben Vereen, Leslie Uggams, Scatman Crothers, Roxie Roker, Cicely Tyson, Ed Asner, O.J. Simpson, Richard Roundtree, Maya Angelou and George Hamilton.
The new version of “Roots” will be an original, contemporary production that will incorporate more material from Haley’s novel as well as new research. Writers for the remake include Lawrence Konner (“Boardwalk Empire,” “The Sopranos,”), Mark Rosenthal (“Mona Lisa Smile,” “Planet of the Apes”), Alison McDonald (“Alpha House,” “Nurse Jackie”) and Charles Murray (“Sons of Anarchy”). The project originally had Allen Hughes was originally attached to direct the project, the ultimately pulled out due to scheduling conflicts.
The “Roots” remake is slated to air in 2016 on the History channel, A&E and Lifetime.