Entertainment & Arts

Roots TV mini-series to be remade

LeVar Burton
Image caption Star Trek actor Levar Burton played Kunta Kinte in Roots

A remake of the groundbreaking 1970's miniseries Roots, about several generations of a slave family, is in development by the History channel.

The US company confirmed it had acquired the rights after reaching a deal with Mark Wolper, whose father David made the 1977 original.

It broke ratings records when it first aired and earned an unprecedented 37 Emmy nominations, winning nine of them.

It is hoped the new series will appear on screens some time during 2015.

The 1977 series aired over eight consecutive nights on ABC in the US, drawing 100 million viewers for its conclusion, nearly half of the entire country.

It was an unlikely hit with a largely black cast but is credited with helping to improve race relationships while blending fact and fiction into a soap opera package.

"We would like to revive that cultural icon for a new audience," History's Dirk Hoogstra told Deadline.

History has also acquired the rights to the book the mini-series was based on, Roots: The Saga Of An American Family, from the estate of author Alex Haley.

Writers are expected to draw on both sources from a contemporary perspective with Wolper acting as an executive producer.

Several big budget film projects have recently focused on the issue of slavery, including this year's Oscar hopeful 12 Years a Slave and Quentin Tarantino's 2012 film Django Unchained.

The History channel has also enjoyed success with blockbuster historical mini-series over the last few years, such as The Bible, Vikings and Hatfields & McCoys starring Kevin Costner.

"History in general is in the zeitgeist, which is great for us being a network whose name is History," Hoogstra said.

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