The original version of Roots on ABC featured slightly different opening titles. The Roots Mural was the same, but when the title Roots was shown on-screen it was over a dark blue background. The cover of the novel rises up from a horizontal to a vertical position. The screen says "AN ABC NOVEL FOR TELEVISION ALEX HALEY'S ROOTS THE SAGA OF AN AMERICAN FAMILY." Current VHS, dvd, and re-broadcasts simply have "Roots" on a black background, without the other information. Also, the end credits have been changed considerably. In the original, there were eight sets of end credits (one for each episode.) When the show was re-edited to six episodes, names were combined for different hours and some of the end credit sequences (with a still from that episode) are missing, including one featuring Kizzy and Missy Anne having a picnic.
The 1987 UK video version was cut by 16 secs by the BBFC to remove shots of cockfighting. The DVD features the same cut print.
Originally presented by ABC in eight one and two-hour episodes. The episodes ran as follows:
Episodes 1,2,6, and 8 were two-hours
Episodes 3,4,5, and 7 were one-hour.....re-broadcasts and VHS and DVD releases are presented in six two-hour installments.
Several scenes were cut for DVD when the eight episodes were combined into six. Among the deletions: A five minute opening sequence of George Hamilton riding through the countryside on a carriage before he reaches the Moore plantation and several scenes featuring slaves working in the fields as Chicken George returns home from England. The dvd also deletes the opening screen credits for these sequences. The DVD does contain a short sequence at the start of Episode 5, featuring Chicken George and Tom Moore before a cockfight, not seen originally. The DVD also features different closing credits than the original broadcast.