10:48am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Roots' Remake a Go at History, A&E, Lifetime
It's official: Roots is returning to television.
One of TV's most successful miniseries will get the remake treatment and air across corporate siblings History Channel, A&E and Lifetime, the companies announced Thursday.
Will Packer (Ride Along) is set to executive produce alongside original Roots star LeVar Burton, who will co-exec produce. Mark Wolper also will serve as an EP on the A+E Studios production in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organization.
The miniseries will air in 2016.
Read more 'Roots' Remake in the Works at History
News of the remake first surfaced in November, with History plotting an eight-hour mini based on the 1977 entry. Wolper's father, David L. Wolper, exec produced the original 12-hour mini. That series — which aired on ABC in January 1977 — earned a whopping 37 Emmy nominations, taking home nine including best limited series and wins for Ed Asner (supporting actor) and Quincy Jones (music).
For History, the Roots mini comes as the network continues to ramp up its original scripted programming on the back of critical and ratings success with its long-form fare including The Bible and Hatfields & McCoys, the latter of which shattered network records during its three-day run last year.
Lawrence Konner (Boardwalk Empire), Mark Rosenthal (Mona Lisa Smile), Alison McDonald (Nurse Jackie) and Charles Murray (Sons of Anarchy) will pen the new Roots. Victoria Thomas (The Hateful Eight) is the casting director. Roots will be an original, contemporary production, incorporating more material from Alex Haley's source novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, as well as carefully researched new scholarship of the time. The networks note that they're working with prominent historians in the fields of African and African-American history, as well as diverse leaders from across the country, to use Roots to stimulate discussion and awareness about the origin story that informs American culture today.
For Packer, the news comes as his all-black version of John Hughes' Uncle Buck is heating up for a series order at ABC.