Roots (TV Mini-Series 1977– ) Poster

(1977– )


The installment that aired on January 30, 1977 was the most-watched TV show in US history at the time. It got a Nielsen share of 71, with 36.38 million households, or 51.1%, watching. It has since been surpassed by the M*A*S*H (1972) finale, and the "Who Shot J.R.?" episode of Dallas (1978)).
Novelist Harold Courlander successfully sued author Alex Haley for plagiarizing works which led to the book that served as the basis for the mini-series. Haley paid $650,000 in an out-of-court settlement.
When ABC programmed it to air on several consecutive nights in prime time, it was considered a revolutionary approach to programming a mini-series. Most were aired once or twice a week over several weeks. Years later, the network revealed that it was aired that way to get the show "out of the way" in a hurry. The network felt that nobody would watch the story if it aired over a longer period of time.
The series takes place from 1750 to 1870.
LeVar Burton and Louis Gossett Jr. would later reprise their roles in Roots: The Gift (1988).
Received 37 Emmy Award nominations, and won nine. It was the first show to be nominated for every Emmy acting category.
ABC originally broadcast the show as eight episodes. Episodes 1, 2, 6 and 8 were two hours apiece. Episodes 3, 4, 5 and 7 were one hour apiece. For VHS, DVD, and re-broadcast, it was packaged as six two-hour episodes.
It became the first show to receive at least twenty major nominations in the Emmy's. With nominations in Creative Arts categories, the total expands to 37. Both records still stand for all shows.
The people who played Kizzy, George, and Tom Harvey were born within three years of each other. Leslie Uggams and Georg Stanford Brown were both born in 1943. Ben Vereen was born in 1946. This means that Tom was actually three years older than his father, and Kizzy was three years older than her son.
One ABC executive explained the blockbuster ratings by saying "One third of America was snowed in, one third of America is black, and one third watches ABC anyway."
The boy that portrayed baby Kunta grew up to form the successful 1980's singing group The Boys, with his two older brothers and his younger brother.
Georg Stanford Brown and Lynne Moody are the only actors to reprise their roles in Roots: The Next Generations (1979).
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Ernest Thomas screen tested for the role of Kunta Kinte.
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Lillian Randolph's final TV appearance.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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