The eight-hour miniseries, a remake of the 1977 TV classic chronicling a family’s history during the era of American slavery, will be available on Hulu starting this fall under a new deal with A+E Networks and Chute Ten Productions.
Hulu’s deal with A+E also includes the exclusive SVOD acquisition of “War and Peace,” an adaptation of Tolstoy’s epic tale that aired on Lifetime, A&E and History in January, which will be available to Hulu subscribers this summer.
In addition, Hulu has exclusive streaming rights to “Barbarians Rising,” an eight-part docu-drama about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire that premiered June 6 on History. The series, produced by October Films, will be available on Hulu beginning in 2017.
The deal underscores the ongoing competition among Hulu and its chief SVOD rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime to license top TV programming, in tandem with their investments in originals. Hulu’s expanded deal with A+E Networks comes after the parties last year inked a pact giving the streamer exclusive rights to past episodes of Lifetime drama series “UnReal.”
“We’re so proud to welcome such a culturally important and highly rated series as ‘Roots’ to Hulu,” said Craig Erwich, senior VP, head of content for Hulu. “With acclaimed titles like ‘War and Peace’ and ‘Barbarians Rising,’ our expanded deal with A+E Networks furthers our strategy of offering the very best in premium, exclusive television to Hulu subscribers.”
“Roots,” which debuted May 30, garnered 14.4 million total linear viewers over the course of all premiere week telecasts, and the entire four-night series reached 50.6 million viewers across all telecasts for the week ending June 5, according to Nielsen data.
“Hulu continues to thrive and innovate in the SVOD marketplace and is the perfect platform to showcase A+E’s premium video content,” said Sean Cohan, A+E Networks’ president of international and digital media.
The cast of History’s “Roots” includes 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 and newcomers Regé-Jean Page and Malachi Kirby.
The miniseries is an A+E Studios production in association with Marc Toberoff and the Wolper Organization, which produced the original “Roots.” Will Packer, Marc Toberoff, Mark Wolper, Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal and Barry Jossen serve as executive producers, and LeVar Burton and Korin D. Huggins are co-executive producers. “Roots” is directed by Phillip Noyce, Mario Van Peebles, Thomas Carter and Bruce Beresford, and Questlove is executive music producer.