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Roots Founders Questlove, Black Thought Sign First-Look Deal at Universal TV, UTV Alternative Studio

Black Thought and QuestlovePaleyLive NY Presents
Kristina Bumphrey/Starpix/Shutterstock

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter of the iconic hip-hop collective The Roots and their production company, Two One Five Entertainment, have signed a first-look deal with Universal Television Alternative Studio and Universal Television.

“The Roots are innovators and cultural tastemakers whose breadth of musical knowledge is unparalleled,” said Meredith Ahr, President, NBC Alternative and Reality Group. “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.”

The three-year deal expands Thompson and Trotter’s relationship with NBC, with The Roots serving as the house band for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and previously as the house band for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” Thompson also serves as the “Tonight Show’s” musical director. The new deal covers development on scripted, unscripted and specials programming across television and digital content platforms.

“This deal is very important to us as we’ve been content producers and storytellers for our entire career,” said Thompson. “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.”

The Roots were first formed in 1987 by Thompson and Trotter The group has received widespread acclaim throughout its existence. To date, they have been nominated for 14 Grammy Awards with three wins.

“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 said. “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.”