(L-R) Louis Gossett Jr, Ben Vereen, Cicely Tyson, LeVar Burton, Leslie Uggams and John Amos
Los Angeles - AFP
Classic 1970s TV series "Roots", about one African family's struggle to survive slavery over generations, is to be remade for US television next year, the companies behind it said Friday.
Emmy-award winning actor LeVar Burton, who played Kunta Kinte in the original show, will serve as executive co-producer on the new series, being made by TV companies History, A&E Network and Lifetime.
The 1977 ABC miniseries was based on the novel "Roots: The Saga of an American Family," by Alex Haley, about Kunta Kinte's capture in his homeland in the Gambia to be sold into slavery in colonial America.
"Roots was a groundbreaking television milestone," said Dirk Hoogstra, head of History. "We are privileged to be stewards of this universal story and will undertake its retelling with extreme care,” said Hoogstra.
"We are proud to bring this saga to fans of the original, as well as to a new generation that will experience this powerful ... tale for the first time. Audiences will once again feel the impact of Kunta Kinte's indomitable spirit."
Mark Wolper, son of the original series' producer David Wolper, will also serve as an executive producer.
"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," said Wolper.
"Like Kunta Kinte fought to tell his story over and over again, so must we," he added.
The original eight-part miniseries aired over consecutive nights in January 1977 in the United States, becoming an unexpected megahit which was subsequently exported around the world.
Producers did not announce Friday how many episodes the remake will run to, or when exactly in 2016 it will air.