On January 23, 1977, Roots debuted on ABC. The first installment gave ABC ratings unlike any had that been seen before, and the miniseries went on to shatter viewership records night after night for its eight-day run.
Whenever one of us is on, "Oh my God, quick turn on the television." With me being on [Sing Along with] Mitch every day, it gave my people a chance to see somebody that looked like them. Because back then there weren’t even commercials that you could see us in.