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History Channel’s Roots

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Riley (the no..
  • Anonymous
    Jan 1st, 1970


    Obviously as a response to both their recent miniseries getting huge ratings and movies about slavery being big recently…

    For reference, Roots is one of the hugest TV events ever in both Emmys and ratings (and historical influence which is harder to quantify). It’s one of 3 miniseries to get program/writing/directing awards and two acting awards, along with likewise Big Topics miniseries Holocaust and Angels in America. And, a list of the 20 best-rated TV telecasts ever besides Super Bowls, as of 2009 via TV By the Numbers: 

    1. Mash Series Finale, 2/28/82
    2. Dallas Who Shot JR, 11/21/80
    3. Roots, end of January ’77
    6. Olympics 2/23/94 – Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding
    8/9. Gone with the Wind first TV airing, 11/7-8/76
    12. Bob Hope Vietnam Christmas Special, 1/15/70
    17. Day After, 11/20/83
    18. Fugitive Series Finale, 8/29/67
    19. Roots
    21. Roots
    23. Cheers Series Finale, 5/20/93
    24. Ed Sullivan 2/9/64, America meets the Beatles
    26. Bob Hope Vietnam Christmas Special, 1/14/71
    27. Roots
    32. Olympics 2/25/94 – Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding
    33. Roots
    34. Beverly Hillbillies 1/8/64 – No idea why…I thought maybe SB lead-in but SB didn’t exist yet
    35. Roots
    36. Ed Sullivan 2/16/64, America meets the Beatles again

    Half of the Roots episodes beat that year’s Super Bowl. Of the all-time T10 scripted telecasts created for TV, half are Roots episodes. We’ll see how America responds to a remake…

    Nov 4th, 2010

    ‘Roots’ A+E Mini Sets Cast: Anna Paquin, Forest Whitaker, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Derek Luke, Others Take On Iconic Roles

    by Nellie Andreeva  

    September 16, 2015 11:31am

    A+E Networks has lined up a roster of established actors and newcomers for its four-night, eight-hour event miniseries Roots,
    a remake of the iconic 1977 ABC mini, which drew critical praise and
    blockbuster viewership. Cast in the reboot, from A+E Studios, are Oscar
    winners Forest Whitaker and Anna Paquin, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose, Derek Luke, Chad L. Coleman and Erica Tazel.

    ‘Cosby: The Women Speak’ Debuts Thursday On A&E

    A+E held a global search in 15 cities in 10 countries in Africa, Europe
    and North America to find young actors for the roles of Kunta Kinte and
    Chicken George. As we reported,
    English actor Malachi Kirby has landed the Kunta Kinte part. He was
    handpicked by producers Will Packer and LeVar Burton, who played the
    original Kunta Kinte. Another Brit, Regé-Jean Page (Survivor, Waterloo Road) has been cast as Chicken George.

    Roots also has firmed up its lineup of directors, with Mario Van Peebles (We The Party) and Bruce Beresford (Bonnie & Clyde)
    set to direct nights two and four respectively. They join previously
    announced Phillip Noyce and Thomas Carter, who are directing nights one
    and three respectively

    is a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of
    one family’s will to survive, endure and ultimately carry on their
    legacy despite enormous hardship and inhumanity. Spanning multiple
    generations, the lineage begins with young Kunta Kinte (Kirby), who is
    captured in his homeland of 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

    will play Fiddler, a slave who tries to mentor Kunta Kinte and risks
    his life to help him escape. The role earned Louis Gossett Jr. an Emmy
    for the original mini. Paquin (True Blood) plays Nancy Holt, the wife of a Confederate officer who has her own agenda when it comes to the handling of slaves; Meyers (The Tudors) is Tom Lea, an uneducated slave owner desperate to claw his way into the elite company of Southern gentility; Rose (The Good Wife) is Kizzy, the cherished, smart daughter of Kunta Kinte who maintains her family pride and warrior spirit; Coleman (The Walking Dead) is Mingo, a stern no-nonsense slave who keeps the Lea plantation afloat. Tazel (Justified)
    plays Matilda, a preacher’s daughter and love interest to Chicken
    George; Olivia Cole won an Emmy for playing the role in the original.
    Luke (Captain America: The First Avenger) plays Silla Ba Dibba,
    the military trainer of Juffure, charged with transforming teen boys
    into powerful Mandinka Warriors. Page’s Chicken George is Kizzy’s son, a
    handsome social magnet who knows how to transfix a crowd with a story,
    yet doesn’t appreciate what he has until his luck abandons him.

    They join previously announced Laurence Fishburne (Black-ish) who has been set as Alex Haley, the author of the novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family. Production is underway in New Orleans and set to begin later this month in South Africa.

    Roots is an A+E Studios production in association with Marc
    Toberoff and The Wolper Organization, the company that produced the
    original mini. Will Packer, Marc Toberoff, Mark Wolper, Lawrence Konner
    and Mark Rosenthal serve as executive producers. LeVar Burton and Korin
    D. Huggins are co-executive producers. Konner, Rosenthal, Alison
    McDonald, and Charles Murray are the writers. Grammy winner Questlove
    is Executive Music Producer.

    Luke is repped by ICM Partners, Greenlight Managmenet and Ziffren, Brittenham

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    Not expecting greatness.  Will be interesting to see without having seen the original.

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    Metacritic scores the first review, from TV Guide‘s Matt Roush, as a 70: “A slickly streamlined and impeccably cast reinterpretation.”

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