NEW YORK, June 1 (UPI) -- About 5.3 million viewers tuned in for Monday's premiere of the History channel's 18th century-set miniseries Roots.
Episode 2 debuted Tuesday night, following an encore presentation of Episode 1.
"Roots represents what television can do when it's at its best," Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO of A+E Networks, said in a statement. "This project has helped shape the discourse around race and identity at a time when it is needed more than ever. We are looking forward to audiences continuing to experience this powerful and important event over the next three nights."
The network describes the four-night, eight-hour event series as "a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family and their will to survive and ultimately carry on their legacy despite hardship."
Like the 1977 miniseries by the same name, the re-make is also based on the celebrated novel by Alex Haley. The new version stars Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose, Tip "T.I." Harris, Chad L. Coleman, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Matthew Goode, Derek Luke, Mekhi Phifer, James Purefoy, Erica Tazel, Regé-Jean Page and Malachi Kirby.