Roots, the epic series based on Alex Haley's best-selling novel following several generations of his African-American slave family, is to be remade by the History Channel. 

The original and ground-breaking drama was screened by ABC in 1977 and starred LeVar Burton, who went on to play Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, as slave Kunta Kinte. 

The series followed the family from colonial times to post-Civil War American and also starred Louis Gossett Jr, Ben Vereen, Vic Morrow, Lorne Greene and Ian McShane.

A second series, Roots The Next Generation, starred James Earl Jones as Haley himself and followed the family from the 1880s to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. 

Roots broke ratings records when it first aired, drawing 100 million viewers for the final episode and earned an unprecedented 37 Emmy nominations, winning nine of them.

"We would like to revive that cultural icon for a new audience," History Channel's Dirk Hoogstra told Deadline.

Writers of the remake are expected to draw on Haley's book and the original series from "a contemporary perspective."