Sundance TV celebrates Black History Month and honors one of the highest-rated TV miniseries of all time with Roots: 40th Anniversary Special Event, starting Saturday, February 25.
In kicking off the special programming event, Sundance TV will broadcast the remastered version of the original miniseries, Roots on Feb. 25 and Feb. 26, at 11 a.m. ET each day. It will be followed by its sequel, Roots: The Next Generations, which will air in two-parts on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28, at 5 p.m. ET.
When Roots first aired 40 years ago, it received unprecedented Nielsen ratings for the finale, still holding the record as the third highest-rated episode for any type of television series, and the second most-watched overall series finale in U.S. television history.
“We are proud to present this landmark miniseries on our air, and celebrate its contribution to television history,” said Jan Diedrichsen, general manager of SundanceTV in a statement. “From an award-winning piece of literature to an Emmy and Peabody-award winning miniseries, Roots and Roots: The Next Generations share stories that are important, human and relevant.”
Roots is based on “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” the 1976 Pulitzer-prize winning novel by Alex Haley. The twelve-hour miniseries follows the saga of Alex Haley’s ancestors, from Kunta Kinte’s enslavement to his descendants’ liberation.
The miniseries first aired on ABC in January 1977 and covers a period of history that begins in mid-1700s Gambia, West Africa and concludes during post-Civil War United States, over 100 years later.
The miniseries stars Todd Bridges as Bud Harvey, Robert Reed as Dr. William Reynolds, John Amos as Toby, Madge Sinclair as Bell Reynolds, Louis Gossett Jr. as Fiddler, Vic Morrowas Ames, Brad Davis as Ol’ George Johnson and LeVar Burton as Kunta Kinte. The miniseries, produced by David L. Wolper with Stan Marguiles, William Beaudine Jr., Malcom Alper and Donald A. Ramsey. Writers of the miniseries include Alex Haley, William Blinn, Charles Cohen, Ernest Kinoy and James Lee. Directors include Marvin J. Chomsky, John Erman, David Greene and Gilbert Moses.