The Roots Announces First-Look Deal with Universal Television

Robyn Mowatt Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she…
The Roots Questlove Black Thought
(Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

The duo is slated to develop scripted and non-scripted programming.

The Roots founders Questlove and Black Thought have officially announced a first-look deal with Universal Television. 

Their production company Two One Five Entertainment is set to work with Universal Television and Universal Television Alternative Studio to develop scripted and non-scripted programming. The three-year deal extends the duo’s ten-year relationship with NBC. The Roots has been the house band for NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Falloon since 2009. Questlove is also the show’s musical director. 

Questlove shared the following on the first-look deal: 

“This deal is very important to us as we’ve been content producers and storytellers for our entire career. A significant investment from Universal Television Alternative Studio and Universal Television in our vision allows us to share these stories on a much larger scale. Tarik and I see this as the next chapter to our careers, and we are very involved in the entire process.  I’m directing, Tarik is writing and we both are producing.”

Black Thought added, “Many of our initial projects have been music-centric content, and one of our goals is to become the premiere hub for music storytelling – a safe space for these stories to be shared across a variety of platforms.”

This follows the launch of Hip Hop Songs That Shook America, an AMC docuseries. Additional projects on the Two One Five Entertainment slate include Black Woodstock, and Black No More created in partnership with John Ridley and Soul Train Musical.

Meredith Ahr, NBC Alternative and Reality Group president released a statement on the deal, “The band has been a cornerstone of NBC’s late-night programming for over a decade, and we are excited to extend our collaboration across a diverse slate of projects to bring even more compelling storytelling to our audience.”

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