Miniseries but TV megahit: 'Roots' a most-viewed classic

The book that inspired some of the most memorable TV programming ever is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. "Roots: The Saga of an American Family" is a story of slavery based on people in author Alex Haley's own family tree. "Roots" sold more than 1 million copies in its first year and brought Haley, who died in 1992, major recognition. The book, now out in a four-disc anniversary edition, was the basis of the miniseries of the same name that was watched by 130 million people, according to audience research at the time. The final installment was seen in 51.1 percent of American households, making it among the most-viewed telecasts in history. The top network primetime telecasts of all time, the year they aired, and the percentage of TV households that tuned in:

1. "M*A*S*H" series finale (1983) 60.2%
2. "Dallas" episode "Who Done It?" aka "Who Shot J.R.?" (1980) 53.3%
3. "Roots" Part VIII, finale (1977) 51.1%
4. Super Bowl XVI (1982) 49.1%
5. Super Bowl XVII (1983) 48.6%
6. XVII Olympic Winter Games: ladies figure skating (1994) 48.5%
7. Super Bowl XX (1986) 48.3%
8. "Gone With the Wind" - Part I (1976) 47.7%
9. "Gone With the Wind" - Part II (1976) 47.4%
10. Super Bowl XII (1978) 47.2%

– Wikipedia

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