BrandArena: A+E Networks brings Roots to Africa

Monday 29 February 2016

A+E Networks brings Roots to Africa

A+E Networks is bringing a new adaptation of the iconic TV series Roots to a whole new generation of viewers in Africa. Developed by HISTORY, the eight-hour event miniseries boasts a stellar cast of award-winning actors and will premiere on HISTORY from Sunday, 12 June 2016.

A+E Networks will also simulcast Roots on Lifetime, to share this significant TV event with a wider audience across Africa.

Based on the bestseller by Alex Haley, Roots is an historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family’s will to survive despite enormous hardship and inhumanity. It follows the story of Kunta Kinte who is captured in his homeland in the Gambia and transported to colonial America where he’s sold into slavery. The original 1970s series propelled the issues of race and discrimination to the forefront of public consciousness across the globe.

The A+E Studios production features an all-star cast including: Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker as Fiddler, Academy Award winner Anna Paquin as Nancy Holt; Golden Globe Award winning and Emmy Award nominated actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Tom Lea; Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose as Kizzy; Chad L. Coleman as Mingo; Erica Tazel as Matilda; and Derek Luke as Silla Ba Dibba. Laurence Fishburne plays the role of Alex Haley.

Newcomers Malachi Kirby and RegĂ©-Jean Page play the roles of Kunta Kinte and ‘Chicken George’. Kirby was handpicked by executive producers Will Packer and LeVar Burton, who played the original Kunta Kinte in the earlier version.

Heather Jones, SVP Content & Creative at A+E Networks UK, said: “A+E Networks is proud to bring this new adaptation of Roots to HISTORY in Africa. With an all-star cast, this immensely compelling and poignant historical drama is the perfect fit for HISTORY, which aims to humanise the past, reflect the present and illuminate the future. Audiences across Africa will feel the impact of Kunta Kinte’s indomitable spirit.”

Co-executive producer Mark Wolper said: “Kunta Kinte began telling his story over 200 years ago and that story went through his family lineage, to Alex Haley, to my father, and now the mantle rests with me. Like Kunta Kinte fought to tell his story over and over again, so must we.”

Roots is an A+E Studios production in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organisation, the company that produced the original Roots. Will Packer, Marc Toberoff, Mark Wolper, Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal are executive producers. LeVar Burton and Korin Huggins are co-executive producers. Dirk Hoogstra, Julian P. Hobbs and Michael Stiller serve as executives in charge of production for HISTORY. Roots is distributed internationally by A+E Networks under the A+E Studios International banner.

The list of award-winning directors who direct various episodes includes Mario van Peebles; Bruce Beresford; Phillip Noyce and Thomas Carter. Questlove is also on-board as the executive music producer for the production.

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