History is lining up its next high-profile event miniseries to follow Hatfields & McCoys and Texas Rising — a remake of one of the most celebrated TV programs of all time, blockbuster 1977 miniseries Roots.
The cable network has set Allen Hughes as director and executive producer on the project, which is expected to be picked up soon. Roots has been on a fast track at History since the network in November 2013 acquired the rights to the 12-hour original mini from Mark Wolper, son of Roots executive producer, the late David L. Wolper, and to the book the mini was based on, Roots: The Saga Of An American Family, from the estate of author Alex Haley.
Mark Rosenthal and Larry Konner are writing the scripts for the Roots remake, and I hear History and A+E Studios executives are very happy with what they have read so far. Wolper, Hughes and Marc Toberoff are executive producing the miniseries, an A+E Studios production in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organization.
The timing of the couldn’t be better — slavery and Black history have been popular topics in movies over the past couple of years with Django Unchained, Oscar winner 12 Years A Slave, Lee Daniels’ The Butler and, most recently, Selma. And in TV, programming with African American themes/protagonists is sizzling as proven by the success this season of new dramas How To Get Away with Murder and Empire and comedy Black-ish. And of course, there is the track record of the original Roots miniseries, which transcended race to become a true television event and go down in history as one of the most watched TV programs ever.
Texas Rising, History’s miniseries about the Texas Revolution and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers, premieres on Memorial Day, which is when the highly-rated Hatfields & McCoys mini debuted three years prior.
Hughes most recently directed the pilot for Fox’s drama series Gang Related and the feature Broken City starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe.