I chuckled when I opened up this press release in my email inbox a little bit ago, because I've had a few conversations with several folks about whether BET (or TV One, or Bounce TV) would broadcast Roots before Django Unchained is released; and sure enough, it looks like the folks at BET were thinking the exact the same thing, because they will be doing just that, starting on December 21st.
But not only will BET screen the 1977 mini-series, the network will continue with broadcasts of Roots: The Next Generations (1979), Roots: The Gift (1988), and finally Queen (1993), closing out the series broadcast on December 26.
Or maybe Django Unchained has nothing to do with it, and it's instead the fact that it's the original 1977 series' 35th anniversary that the network is celebrating.
Or maybe it's both.
Regardless, its happening. All the details follow below:
BET Networks’ “What To Watch”— Programming Note
(Lavar Burton stars in the network world premiere of “Roots” airing Friday, December 21st beginning at 8:00 P.M.* ET/PT on BET.)
2012 marks the 35th anniversary of the groundbreaking and award-winning miniseries based on Alex Haley's saga of African-American life. Kunta Kinte is abducted from his African village, sold into slavery, and taken to America. He makes several escape attempts until he is finally caught and maimed. He marries Bell, his plantation's cook, and they have a daughter, Kizzy, who is eventually sold away from them. Kizzy has a son by her new master, and the boy grows up to become Chicken George, a legendary cock fighter who leads his family into freedom. Throughout the series, the family observes notable events in U.S. history, such as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings, and emancipation. Starring Levar Burton, Ben Vereen and Lou Gossett Jr.
Roots: Part 1 airs Friday, December 21st at 8:00 P.M.* ET/PT
Roots: Part 2 airs Friday, December 21st at 10:30 P.M.* ET/PT
Roots: Part 3 airs Saturday, December 22nd at 8 P.M.* ET/PT
Roots: Part 4 airs Saturday, December 22nd at 10:30 P.M.* ET/PT
Roots: Part 5 airs Sunday, December 23rd at 4:00 P.M.* ET/PT
Roots: Part 6 airs Sunday, December 23rd at 6:30 P.M.* ET/PT
The characters of Kunta Kinte and Fiddler from Roots are back in this movie as they accompany their owner to another plantation at Christmas time and they learn that the son of the owner helps slaves escape. As the two of them try to help him, they also see this as an opportunity to escape themselves. Starring Levar Burton and Lou Gossett Jr.
Roots: The Next Generations follows the descendants of Kunta Kinte post-Civil War. This sequel to the 1977 miniseries is based on the last seven chapters of Haley's fictional novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family and additional material by the author. Starring George Stanford Brown, Debbi Morgan and Dorian Harewood, Debbie Allen, Diahann Carroll, Telma Hopkins, Kim Fields and James Earl Jones.
A plantation owner's son falls in love with a slave named Easter and together they have a Mixed race daughter named Queen. As Queen grows up, she faces the struggle of trying to fit into the troubled world around her. She tries passing for white, but it leads to sorrow in post-Civil War America. Everywhere she goes, she faces obstacles and hardships while searching for happiness and a place to belong. Starring Halle Berry, Jasmine Guy, Raven Symone’ and Danny Glover.