The History Channel will premiere Roots on Memorial Day 2016, airing over four consecutive nights at 9 p.m. beginning Monday, May 30, it was announced today by Paul Buccieri, President of A&E and History. The four-night, eight-hour event series developed by History, from A+E Studios, is a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family and their will to survive and ultimately carry on their legacy despite hardship. Roots will be simulcast on A&E and Lifetime, in addition to History.
The stellar cast includes Academy Award winners Forest Whitaker ("Fiddler") and Anna Paquin ("Nancy Holt"); Academy Award(R) nominee and Emmy Award winner Laurence Fishburne ("Alex Haley"); Golden Globe Award winning and Emmy Award nominated actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers ("Tom Lea"); Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose ("Kizzy"); Grammy Award(R) winner Tip "T.I." Harris ("Cyrus"); Emayatzy E. Corinealdi ("Belle"); Matthew Goode ("Dr. William Waller"); Mekhi Phifer ("Jerusalem"); James Purefoy ("John Waller") and introduces Regé-Jean Page ("Chicken George") and Malachi Kirby ("Kunta Kinte"). Here's what A&E and History president Paul Buccieri had to say in a statement.
"Roots will allow new audiences to experience this epic family saga with a new vision that is both incredibly inspiring and tremendously entertaining. We are proud that History will be able to bring new life to this incredible story that remains as important today as it did when the original Roots first premiered."
Roots 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 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. The story of Kunta Kinte and the women and men who came after him echoes through the history of millions of Americans of African descent, and reveals powerful truths about the universal resilience of the human spirit. Here's what LeVar Burton, who starred as Kunta Kinte in the original miniseries and executive produces the remake, had to say in a statement.
"Nearly 40 years ago I had the privilege to be a part of an epic television event that started an important conversation in America. I am incredibly proud to be a part of this new retelling and start the dialogue again, at a time when it is needed more than ever."
Roots is an A+E Studios production in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organization, the company that produced the original Roots. William Packer, Marc Toberoff, Mark Wolper, Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal and Barry Jossen serve as executive producers. LeVar Burton and Korin D. Huggins are co-executive producers. Questlove is executive music producer. Roots is directed by Phillip Noyce, Mario Van Peebles, Thomas Carter and Bruce Beresford. Arturo Interian and Michael Stiller serve as Executives in Charge of Production for History. A+E Networks handles international distribution for Roots. Take a look at the new trailer below, and stay tuned for more on Roots.