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'12 Years A Remake:' History Channel Giving Legendary 1977 Miniseries 'Roots' A Reboot

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist November 5, 2013 at 2:57PM

With History Channel earning acclaim over the past year or two for their push toward original programming including "Hatfields & McCoys," "The Vikings" and more infamously, "The Kennedys," they are now looking to take on one of the most controversial chapters in American history: slavery. If that's not enough, they're going to remake a series regularly heralded as one of the greatest ever made in the process.
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Roots

With History Channel earning acclaim over the past year or two for their push toward original programming including "Hatfields & McCoys," "The Vikings" and more infamously, "The Kennedys," they are now looking to take on one of the most controversial chapters in American history: slavery. If that's not enough, they're going to remake a series regularly heralded as one of the greatest ever made in the process.

Deadline reports that History has snapped up the rights to the book "Roots: The Saga Of An American Family," which served as the source material for the 1977 miniseries "Roots," with plans to tell that tale all over again. Only this time, History will use 12 episodes instead of the original 8 to tell the saga of Kunta Kinte, the West African brought in chains to America and the story of his legacy and family. “We would like to revive that cultural icon for a new audience,” History EVP and GM Dirk Hoogstra said about the project will use both the book and original miniseries as a foundation.

Of course, the original "Roots" is still highly regarded, and with 9 Emmy wins (out of 37 nominations) it's status is solidified. While it's heartening in some sense to see a cable network take on challenging material, surely there are no shortage of other stories about the African American experience to draw upon? Regardless, this one needs writers and will likely take a time to develop so hopefully Hoogstra's pronouncement that “History in general is in the zeitgeist, which is great for us being a network whose name is History,” stays true until this one sees the small screen.

This article is related to: Television, TV News, Roots


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