"Roots" (2016 TV show) is an event miniseries on History, A&E and Lifetime that is a new version of Alex Haley's American family origin story based around the life of Kunta Kinte. The classic miniseries "Roots" was a television phenomenon that had an indelible effect on American culture. The new series will be an original, contemporary production, incorporating more material from Haley's novel, "Roots: The Saga of an American Family," as well as carefully researched new scholarship of the time.

The networks also are already working closely with many prominent historians in the fields of African and African-American history, as well as diverse leaders from across the country, to use this powerful story to stimulate discussion and awareness about this important origin story that informs our American culture today.

"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.

The cast includes Laurence Fishburne ("Black-ish") as Alex Haley, the author of the novel "Roots: The Saga of an American Family"; Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker ("Lee Daniels' The Butler," "South Paw") as Fiddler, a slave who tries to mentor Kunta Kinte and risks his life to help him escape; Academy Award winner Anna Paquin ("True Blood") as Nancy Holt, the wife of a Confederate officer who has her own agenda when it comes to the handling of slaves; Golden Globe Award winning and Emmy Award nominated actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers ("The Tudors") as Tom Lea, an uneducated slave owner desperate to claw his way into the elite company of Southern gentility; Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose ("Dream Girls," "The Good Wife," "The Princess and the Frog") as Kizzy, the cherished, smart daughter of Kunta Kinte who maintains her family pride and warrior spirit; Chad L. Coleman ("The Walking Dead," "The Wire") as Mingo, a stern no-nonsense slave who keeps the Lea plantation afloat; Erica Tazel ("Justified") as Matilda, a preacher's daughter and love interest to Chicken George; and Derek Luke ("Captain America: The First Avenger," "Antwone Fisher") as Silla Ba Dibba, the military trainer of Juffure, charged with transforming teen boys into powerful Mandinka Warriors.

Newcomer Malachi Kirby plays Kunta Kinte who is a Mandinka warrior who is educated, proud, strong and resilient — all traits that empower him when he is captured by slavers, while Regé-Jean Page ("Survivor," "Waterloo") plays Chicken George, Kizzy's son, who is 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.

"Roots" is an A+E Studios production in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organization, the company that produced the original "Roots." Lawrence Konner ("Boardwalk Empire," "The Sopranos," "Mona Lisa Smile," "Planet of the Apes"), Mark Rosenthal ("Mona Lisa Smile," "Planet of the Apes"), Alison McDonald ("Alpha House," "Nurse Jackie") and Charles Murray ("Sons of Anarchy," "Luke Cage") are writing. Vickie Thomas ("Hateful Eight," "Top Five," "42," "Django Unchained") is casting director.

Will Packer ("Ride Along," "Think Like a Man"), Marc Toberoff, Marc Wolper, Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal serve as executive producers. Original "Roots" cast member and Emmy-award winning LeVar Burton and Korin Huggins are co-executive producers. Dirk Hoogstra, Julian P. Hobbs and Michael Stiller serve as executives in charge of production for History. "Roots" is distributed internationally by A+E Networks under the A+E Studios International banner.


Network: History Channel
Genre: Drama
Premiere Date: May 30, 2016
Seasons: 1
Production Companies:
A+E Studios
The Wolper Organization

A&E Reveals Cast for 'Roots' — Due next year, the event miniseries will feature Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose, Chad L. Coleman, Erica Tazel and Derek Luke. Read more...
A&E Networks to Remake 'Roots' — Due next year, the new event series will air on History, A&E and Lifetime and will be an original, contemporary production, incorporating more material from Haley's novel, "Roots: The Saga of an American Family," as well as carefully researched new scholarship of the time. Read more...

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