'Roots' Remake Finds Favor with International Buyers

Roots 2016 TV - H 2016
Courtesy of A&E

More than 50 broadcasters across five continents snatched up the event miniseries, which premieres on Memorial Day in the U.S.

Like its groundbreaking predecessor, Roots is going global.

A+E Networks has sold its new remake of the classic television miniseries to more than 50 territories worldwide, closing deals over five continents for the new Roots, which the network premiered to buyers at trade fair MIPTV earlier this month.

Australia's SBS network, Japan's History channel, Crave in Canada, RTL in the Netherlands and the D'Live network in South Korea were among the broadcasters taking the new series, which, like the original Roots, is based on Alex Haley's 1976 novel about his ancestors, tracing down from the captured African slave Kunta Kinte, brought to America against his will. HBO Europe took rights across Central and Eastern Europe as well as nabbing SVOD rights for Spain and the European Nordic territories.

“The incredible reaction we experienced at our world premiere screening of Roots was matched on the sales floor at MIPTV,” said Sean Cohan, president of international and digital at A+E Networks, in a statement. “I am thrilled that our company’s ambitious creative efforts, premium storytelling and betting on projects like this one continue to gain partners and scores of fans across the globe.”

The original Roots broke all ratings records when it was first broadcast, with its final night drawing more than 36 million viewers (a 71 percent share!) on ABC in 1977. The show was also the first U.S.miniseries to truly sell worldwide, where it also smashed rating records and sparked a boom in the format.

The new Roots features stars Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Rege-Jean Page, Emayatzy Corinealdi and Malachi Kirby. A+E Studios produced the series in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organization, the company that produced the original Roots. History, A&E and Lifetime will simulcast the new series in the U.S. beginning Monday, May 30.

Watch the trailer for the new Roots below.