Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter of the hip-hop band The Roots have signed a first-look deal with Universal Television Alternative Studio and Universal Television.
The three-year deal between Universal and the Roots founders’ Two One Five Entertainment will cover the development of scripted and unscripted programming across television and digital platforms, as well as specials. “Two One Five” is an ode to Philadelphia’s area code, 2-1-5. Thompson and Trotter first former the roots in Philly in 1987.
The Roots is the house band on NBC’s late-night program, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Thompson (Questlove) is the show’s musical director.
“This deal is very important to us as we’ve been content producers and storytellers for our entire career,” Thompson said. “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,” Trotter added. “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,” Meredith Ahr, president, NBC Alternative and Reality Group, said. “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.”