The original 12-hour drama was based on the book Roots: The Saga Of An American Family. "Roots" debuted on ABC in January 1977, and earned dozens of Emmy noms, along with nine wins. The finale of the original "Roots" mini still ranks as the third highest-rated TV broadcast, per Nielsen ratings, with 100 million viewers.
"Roots" is a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family's will to survive, endure and ultimately carry on their legacy despite enormous hardship and inhumanity. Spanning multiple generations, the lineage begins with young Kunta Kinte, who is captured in his homeland of The Gambia and transported in brutal conditions to colonial America, where he's sold into slavery. Throughout the series, the family continues to face adversity while bearing witness and contributing to notable events in U.S. history, including the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings and eventual emancipation. The story of Kunta Kinte and the women and men who came after him echoes through the history of millions of Americans of African descent, and reveals powerful truths about the universal resilience of the human spirit.