Oprah and the Legendary Cast of 'Roots' 35 Years Later
Premieres Monday, January 16, 2012 from 8-9 p.m. ET/PT
To honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Oprah Winfrey welcomes the cast of "Roots" to her California home as she marks the 35th anniversary of the mini-series that captivated the nation, set ratings records and changed the way Americans thought about their history. Her guests include Cicely Tyson, LeVar Burton, John Amos, Leslie Uggams, Louis Gossett Jr. and Ben Vereen. They recount how Americans came together as never before. Nearly 80 million viewers stayed home night after night to watch the adaptation of Alex Haley's Pulitzer Prize-winning story of his own family's descent from the captured African slave, Kunta Kinte. At the time, Oprah was a television reporter in Baltimore and was assigned to cover the "Roots" phenomenon. Years later, she looks back at how it impacted her and offers viewers an unprecedented look at her Montecito estate. For the first time ever, Oprah conducts an interview from her living room. She asks living legend Cicely Tyson about playing Kunta Kinte's mother, Binta, the death of her own mother and about her legacy. LeVar Burton recounts stepping into the lead role of Kunta Kinte. He was still in college when he was tabbed to star in the mini-series, which landed him on cover of Time magazine and brought him instant celebrity. Then John Amos, Leslie Uggams, Louis Gossett Jr. and Ben Vereen share their own anecdotes from filming "Roots" and describe how the mini-series changed America and television forever.