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Mip TV: ‘Roots’ to Have International Premiere on Opening Night

PARIS — A+E Studios’ historical drama miniseries “Roots” is set to have its international premiere on the opening night of the Cannes-set conference MipTV.

Anna Paquin, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose and Malachi Kirby are all expected to attend the premiere screening along with exec producer Mark Wolper and co-exec producer LeVar Burton.

Developed by History and based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel, “Roots” charts the journey of a family fighting against the adversity of slavery while witnessing and contributing to notable moments in U.S. history, including the American Revolution and Civil War.

“Roots” opens with the capture of Kunta Kinte in his homeland of Gambia and follows his transportation to colonial America, where he is enslaved.

“It’s a story with exceptional gravity, emotion and universality, which will impact viewers around the world,” said Sean Cohan, president of A+E Networks’s international and digital media.

Cohan pointed out “Roots” was developed and produced by A+E Studios, its recently launched in-house production arm. “We launched Studios (…) to produce and own our premium content. To that end, ‘Roots’ (…) embodies the type of ambitious storytelling that A+E Studios is bringing to the global marketplace,” added Cohan.

Haley’s novel was previously adapted into a show that aired on ABC in 1977 to massive audiences.

The MipTV premiere screening will take place on April 4. The show will bow in the U.S. on History, A&E and Lifetime on May 30.

“The Alex Haley novel and original series left its mark on a generation of readers and television viewers around the world. The quality of the talent associated with this new version of ‘Roots’ and the incredible production team involved once again confirms the commitment that broadcasters have towards event drama with international potential,” said Laurine Garaude, Reed Midem’s TV division topper.

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