Magazine article Variety

'Roots' Now and Then

Magazine article Variety

'Roots' Now and Then

Article excerpt

In January 1977, ABC aired "Roots," an eight-part, 12-hour miniseries that stands as the most-watched series in U.S. history, averaging a 44.9 household rating and 130 million viewers. Almost 40 years later, on May 30, History debuts a new eight-hour take on Alex Haley's story, to be simulcast on corporate siblings Lifetime and A&E, airing over four consecutive nights.

LOCATIONS: The original filmed in Savannah, Ga., and around California. For the Gambia scenes, an $85,000 African village was built in California and shipped to Georgia. The remake shot in New Orleans and South Africa.

CAST AND CREW: The 1977 series had 115 cast members and 544 crew. History's revival has 192 actors and 747 crew.

HELMERS: Both versions had four directors. In 1977, Gilbert Moses was the only African-American director; the remake has two AfricanAmericans, Mario Van Peebles and Thomas Carter, and two Aussies, Bruce Beresford and Phillip Noyce. …

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