The 1970's 'Roots' Miniseries to Be Given a Remake

5:30 AM EDT 5/4/2015 by Kara Michelle, Celebeat Reporter

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Roots, the epic miniseries adapted from Alex Haley's 1976 novel "Roots: The Saga of an American Family" which originally aired on ABC from January 23 to January 30, 1977, is now being remade for a simulcast screening in 2016 on The History Channel, A&E, and Lifetime.

The original eight-part miniseries was a sleeper mega-hit for ABC that aired over eight consecutive nights in January 1977. The show's finale broke Nielsen viewing records for its time. Roots received 37 Emmy Award nominations in 1977, winning in nine categories. The miniseries follows the story of Kunta Kinte who was captured in his homeland in the Gambia and sold into slavery in colonial America.

LeVar Burton, who played Kunta Kinte in the original show, will serve as executive co-producer on the new series. In a statement to the press, he said: "My career began with Roots, and I am proud to be a part of this new adaptation. 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."

Mark Wolper, the son of the original producer of the 1977 ABC miniseries, David L. Wolper, will also co-produce the remake projec. Said he: "Kunta Kinte began telling his story over 200 years ago, and that story went through his family lineage, to Alex Haley, to my father, and now the mantle rests with me. Like Kunta Kinte fought to tell his story over and over again, so must we."

Burton and Wolper will be joined by Will Packer in the production of the remake According to Packer, "The opportunity to present one of America's most powerful stories to a generation that hasn't seen it is tremendously exciting. Contemporary society needs this story and I'm proud to be a part of it."

History Channel's head Dirk Hoogstra added: "Roots was a groundbreaking television milestone. We are privileged to be stewards of this universal story and will undertake its retelling with extreme care. We are proud to bring this saga to fans of the original, as well as to a new generation that will experience this powerful ... tale for the first time. Audiences will once again feel the impact of Kunta Kinte's indomitable spirit."

Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Alison McDonald and Charles Murray are also on board to write the new screenplay for the Roots remake.

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