History, A&E and Lifetime have all teamed up for the scripted event series "Roots," for a new generation of viewers, to simulcast on all three flagship brands; it was announced today via press release, by Dirk Hoogstra, EVP and General Manager, at History.
Will Packer joins as executive producer, and original "Roots" cast member LeVar Burton boards as co-executive producer.
Mark Wolper also serves as executive producer.
Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Alison McDonald and Charles Murray are writing.
Vickie Thomas is casting director.
"Roots" will be an original, contemporary production, incorporating more material from Haley’s novel, "Roots: The Saga of an American Family," as well as 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.
“ROOTS was a groundbreaking television milestone that has had an enduring effect on American culture. We are privileged to be stewards of this universal story and will undertake its retelling with extreme care,” said Hoogstra. “We are proud to bring this saga to fans of the original, as well as to a new generation that will experience this powerful and poignant tale for the first time. Audiences will once again feel the impact of Kunta Kinte’s indomitable spirit.”
“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,” said Packer.
“My career began with ROOTS and I am proud to be a part of this new adaptation,” said Burton. “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.”
It’s set for a 2016 premiere.
Worth noting, History, A&E and Lifetime are all subsidiaries of A&E Networks, itself a joint venture between Disney and Hearst Corporation.