(NEW YORK) — The new version of Roots is set to premiere tonight at 9:00 and will air over four consecutive nights on History Channel, A & E and Lifetime. LeVar Burton — who starred in the 1977 landmark ABC miniseries — is an executive producer on the new series — even though he confesses he was skeptical about the remake at first.
“I did not know that we needed,” he tells ABC Radio, until Mark Wolper, the new series’ producer and son of the man who produced the original, tried to show the old series to his children.
“They watched it but they said, ‘You know what dad, it’s dated and it’s old and the makeup is terrible,’ and they were right,” Burton says. “And they said, ‘You know it’s kind of like your generation’s music. I get why it’s important and important to you but it really doesn’t speak to me.'”
Burton became a household name with his starring role as Kunta Kinte in the original miniseries, based on Alex Haley’s novel about a family’s journey from Africa to American slavery.
The new version features a star-studded cast, including Academy Award winners Forest Whitaker and Anna Paquin. Laurence Fishburne, Derek Luke, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose, T.I., Mekhi Phifer and Emayatzy Corinealdi will also appear, as will British newcomers Rege-Jean Page and Malachi Kirby.
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.