Oprah talks to the original cast of “Roots” for miniseries’ 35th anniversary

On Monday, Jan. 16 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Oprah Winfrey will be airing a one-hour special in which she welcomes cast members of the landmark 1977 miniseries Roots, 35 years after that production not only captivated the nation and changed television, but also changed the way Americans thought about their history and the sin of slavery.

In Oprah and the Legendary Cast of “Roots” 35 Years Later, premiering Jan. 16 at 8pm ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Oprah welcomes Cicely Tyson, LeVar Burton, John Amos, Leslie Uggams, Louis Gossett Jr. and Ben Vereen to the living room of her Montecito, Calif., estate, where she will be conducting an interview for the first time ever. When Roots first aired, Jan. 23-30, 1977, Oprah was a television reporter in Baltimore who was assigned to cover the phenomenon of the miniseries. Nearly 80 million viewers would stay home night after night to watch the epic, eight-part adaptation of Alex Haley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story of his own family’s descent from the captured African slave, Kunta Kinte.

Included in the interview are Oprah asking Tyson about playing Kunta Kinte’s mother, Binta, as well as about the death of her own mother and about her legacy. Burton later recounts stepping into the lead role of Kunta Kinte. He was still in college when he was cast in the miniseries, which landed him on the cover of Time and made him an instant celebrity. Amos, Uggams, Gossett Jr. and Vereen also share their own anecdotes from filming Roots and describe how it changed America.

First Look: Oprah and the Legendary Cast of Roots

In this OWN special event, Oprah opens the doors to her home and reunites the legendary cast of Roots, 35 years after they helped make television history. Tune in Monday, January 16 at 8/7c to celebrate the most iconic miniseries ever filmed.


Credit: George Burns. Courtesy of Harpo, Inc.


  1. Dear Oprah,

    Thank you very much for refreshing our minds again with roots. I live in the Gambia the where this history was discovered. Am very much particular about culture and history.i missed this special program and love to see it again.

    I am a consultant and currently working on a project to promote Jufureh in the diaspora to connect African American with their roots.

  2. Iam “just sick” that I missed the show on Monday night. Is there any way that I can get a copy of Oprah’s interviews with the cast of Roots? I teach middle school drama and always show the mini-series to my 8th graders. This would be a great addition to my video collection.
    Thanks for your response.
    Trying to find “Roots in Kansas”

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