MIPCOM: BBC Takes A+E's 'Roots' for U.K.

Roots Still - Publicity - H 2016
Steve Dietl/History

Roots Still - Publicity - H 2016

The new adaptation of Alex Haley's groundbreaking novel of African slave Kunta Kinte and his American decedents has sold to 220 territories worldwide.

Kunta Kinte is going to the BBC.

The British public broadcaster has picked up the U.K. rights to Roots, A+E's remake of the groundbreaking 1977 miniseries about one African-American family's trials from slavery to freedom. It will air in on its BBC Four network.

Ahead of international TV market MIPCOM in Cannes next week, A+E confirmed a raft of new sales for Roots, which will now go out in 42 languages in 220 territories worldwide.

The new Roots had its world premiere at MIPTV in Cannes in April and was simulcast on sister networks History, A&E and Lifetime in the U.S. over four nights in May.

“The remarkable sales momentum we established at MIPTV endures,” Joel Denton, managing director of international content sales and partnerships for A+E Networks, said Monday in a statement. “Broadcasting in 42 languages is testament to the truly universal appeal of this epic miniseries.”

Roots debuted to an audience of 5.3 million in the U.S. and ended with a still-strong 4.8 million viewers, despite direct competition from the NBA, which aired game 7 of the Western Conference finals on the same night as the Roots finale.

The original 1977 miniseries is still one of the most-watched programs in U.S. television history. The first episode of the eight-part original series was watched by 28.8 million viewers on ABC, and the finale by an astounding 36.4 million viewers.