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Laurence Fishburne is playing Alex Haley in that new version of Roots

Laurence Fishburne in Hannibal

It was with great fanfare that The History Channel announced earlier this year that it’s remaking Roots, the groundbreaking TV miniseries based on Alex Haley’s novel of the same name. This iteration will use elements of Haley’s novel, but it will also incorporate new scholarship published since the original’s release, hopefully giving even greater texture and depth to the material. Now, it appears History has found someone with the gravitas to successfully embody Haley himself: Laurence Fishburne has been cast as the famous author and scholar. “Sorry, other jobs,” the actor can now say, rejecting the hypothetical sequels to Biker Boyz and Fled. “History calls.”

The original Roots, which told the origin story of an American family (centered around the life of Kunta Kinte), received 37 Emmy nominations and won nine. The History Channel no doubt sees this as an opportunity to regain some of the credibility it’s lost over the past few years. Also, the new version will air on History, A&E, and Lifetime simultaneously, presumably as a means of slowly fusing the three channels together, eventually forming one super-station that continually airs melodramatic, historically inaccurate romantic comedies about Hitler.


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