11:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
The Roots Founders Ink Universal TV First-Look Deal
The Roots founders Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Tarik "Black Thought" Trotter are expanding their relationship with NBC.
The duo's Two One Five Entertainment banner has inked a three-year, first-look deal with Universal Television Alternative Studio and its scripted counterpart Universal TV. Under the terms of the pact, the duo will develop scripted and unscripted series and specials for multiple platforms.
"This deal is very important to us as we've been content producers and storytellers for our entire career,” Questlove said Wednesday in a statement. "A significant investment from Universal Television Alternative Studio and Universal Television in our vision allows us to share these stories on a much larger scale. Tarik and I see this as the next chapter to our careers, and we are very involved in the entire process. I'm directing, Tarik is writing and we both are producing."
Added Black Thought: "Many of our initial projects have been music-centric content, and one of our goals is to become the premiere hub for music storytelling — a safe space for these stories to be shared across a variety of platforms. Eventually we will expand outside of music with our stories. However, as we all know, every story has a rhythm and Two One Five Entertainment will harness that rhythm and create well-produced, compelling content."
The deal expands the duo's 10-year relationship with NBC, for whom The Roots serve as the official house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Questlove also serves as the late night staple's musical director.
"The Roots are innovators and cultural tastemakers whose breadth of musical knowledge is unparalleled," said NBC Alternative and Reality Group president Meredith Ahr. "The band has been a cornerstone of NBC's late night programming for over a decade, and we are excited to extend our collaboration across a diverse slate of projects to bring even more compelling storytelling to our audience."
The duo's Two One Five Entertainment counts the AMC docuseries Hip Hop Songs That Shook America, the feature doc Black Woodstock and an untitled one exploring the Harlem Cultural & Arts Festival in 1969, as well as a slate of self-produced shortform music-based content distributed on YouTube and Broadway productions Black No More (in partnership with John Ridley) and Soul Train the Musical, among its efforts.
The company is repped by Maverick Management.