The Roots, the house band for NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, are drumming up new business for their production company Two One Five Entertainment after striking a first-look deal with Universal Television.
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter are to work with Universal Television and Universal Television Alternative Studio to develop scripted and non-scripted programming and specials for the studio.
The three-year deal extends their ten-year relationship with NBC, having been with Fallon, then on Late Night, since 2009.
This comes after the launch of Hip Hop Songs that Shook America, the docuseries they produced for AMC. Other projects on the Two One Five Entertainment docket include Black Woodstock, about the Harlem Cultural & Arts Festival in 1969, Black No More, in partnership with John Ridley and Soul Train the Musical.
Thompson, Tarik Trotter, The Roots and Two One Five are all represented by Shawn Gee of Maverick Management.
“This deal is very important to us as we’ve been content producers and storytellers for our entire career,” said Thompson. “A significant investment from Universal Television Alternative Studio and Universal Television in our vision allows us to share these stories on a much larger scale. Tarik and I see this as the next chapter to our careers, and we are very involved in the entire process. I’m directing, Tarik is writing and we both are producing.”
“Many of our initial projects have been music-centric content, and one of our goals is to become the premiere hub for music storytelling – a safe space for these stories to be shared across a variety of platforms,” added Trotter. “Eventually we will expand outside of music with our stories. However, as we all know, every story has a rhythm and Two One Five Entertainment will harness that rhythm and create well-produced, compelling content.”
“The Roots are innovators and cultural tastemakers whose breadth of musical knowledge is unparalleled,” said Meredith Ahr, President, NBC Alternative and Reality Group. “The band has been a cornerstone of NBC’s late-night programming for over a decade, and we are excited to extend our collaboration across a diverse slate of projects to bring even more compelling storytelling to our audience.”