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Roots (TV Mini-Series 1977) Poster

(1977)

Trivia

Author Harold Courlander successfully sued author Alex Haley for plagiarizing works, which led to the book, that served as the basis for this miniseries. Haley paid six hundred fifty thousand dollars in an out-of-court settlement.
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When ABC programmed it to air on several consecutive nights in primetime, it was considered a revolutionary approach to programming a miniseries. Most were aired once or twice a week over several weeks. Several 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.
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The miniseries takes place from 1750 to 1870.
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The installment that aired on January 30, 1977 was the most-watched television show in U.S. history at the time. It got a Nielsen share of seventy-one, with 36.38 million households, or 51.1 percent, watching. It has since been surpassed by the M*A*S*H (1972) finale, and the "Who Shot J.R.?" episode of Dallas (1978), season three finale, "A House Divided".
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LeVar Burton (Kunta Kinte) and Louis Gossett Jr. (Fiddler) are the only actors to reprise their roles in Roots: The Gift (1988).
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Received thirty-seven Emmy Award nominations, and won nine. It was the first show to be nominated for every Emmy acting category.
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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."
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When the miniseries debuted on ABC, it was presented as a factual history of Alex Haley's family. Historians and genealogists have found critical errors in his research work. Most of the story is either unsupported or contradicted by the available evidence.
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ABC originally broadcast the show as eight episodes. Episodes one, two, six, and eight were two hours apiece. Episodes three, four, five, and seven were one hour apiece. For VHS, DVD, and re-broadcast, it was packaged as six two-hour episodes.
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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.
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It became the first show to receive at least twenty major nominations in the Emmys. With nominations in Creative Arts categories, the total expands to thirty-seven. Both records still stand for all shows.
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The boy that portrayed baby Kunta grew up to form the successful 1980s singing group The Boys, with his two older brothers and his younger brother.
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Georg Stanford Brown (Tom Harvey) and Lynne Moody (Irene Harvey) are the only actors to reprise their roles in Roots: The Next Generations (1979).
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Ernest Thomas screentested for the role of Kunta Kinte.
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Lillian Randolph's final television appearance.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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