‘Roots’ Remake Lands 5.3 Million Viewers

Simulcast sum is nowhere near 1977’s numbers, but it’s a start

roots malachi kirby

“Roots” returned last night via a History remake, when the premiere racked up 5.3 million total viewers across a four-channel simulcast. Episode 1 aired on History, Lifetime, A&E and LMN.

The combination was strong enough to make the Memorial Day debut the best cable miniseries opener since 2013.

In the 25-54 demographic, this “Roots” debut landed 2.1 million viewers. Among those 18-49, the count was 1.8 million.

Over the course of three telecasts on the night, 8.5 million watched the episode. That total will grow in three- and seven-day delayed viewing totals, obviously, and probably quite significantly.

“‘Roots’ represents what television can do when it’s at its best,” Nancy Dubuc, president & CEO of A+E Networks, said. “This project has helped shape the discourse around race and identity at a time when it is needed more than ever. We are looking forward to audiences continuing to experience this powerful and important event over the next three nights.”

This version stars Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Chad L. Coleman, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Matthew Goode, Derek Luke, Mekhi Phifer, James Purefoy, Erica Tazel, Regé-Jean Page and Malachi Kirby.

“Roots” is an A+E Studios production in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organization, the company that produced the original miniseries. Will Packer, Marc Toberoff, Mark Wolper, Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal and Barry Jossen serve as executive producers. LeVar Burton and Korin D. Huggins are co-executive producers; Questlove is executive music producer.

These eight hours are directed by Phillip Noyce, Mario Van Peebles, Thomas Carter and Bruce Beresford. Arturo Interian and Michael Stiller serve as Executives in Charge of Production for History. A+E Networks handles the international distribution.

Part 2 of the new “Roots” premieres Tuesday at 9/8c on History. Another encore of Night 1 will precede that airing.