A classic children’s television show is making a return as “Reading Rainbow Live” is set to be available for streaming beginning on Sunday.
What is ‘Reading Rainbow Live’?: The reboot is based on the original “Reading Rainbow’ television program that aired on PBS in the 1980s. The new version of the show still upholds the values of the original program: “through books we can go anywhere, and be anything,” according to the Reading Rainbow Live website.
- “‘Reading Rainbow Live’ will incorporate skits and original songs into every event, as well as a dance break ... and multiple invitations to do more than watch,” reported The New York Times.
- The show will include a 25-minute program, followed by a live, interactive session where children can have the chance to interact with the show.
Where can I watch the program?: The show will not be broadcast on television but will be available for streaming. The creators did this with the goal of meeting today’s children where they are.
- The show will be broadcasted on loopedlive.com at 10:30 a.m. MST.
- “Kids don’t generally sit down in front of a television to watch TV at an appointed time. Kids are watching content on mobile devices,” said executive vice president of Buffalo Toronto Public Media, Nancy Hammond, according to NPR.
Will LeVar Burton be in this series?: The host of the original “Reading Rainbow” program, LeVar Burton, will not be returning for the reboot, according to NPR.
- The new show includes a rotating cast of a group of performers called ‘The Rainbows,’ and other special guests. “Like the colorful beams of a bright rainbow, the members of our ensemble reflect the rich and beautiful worldwide audience,” states the Reading Rainbow Live website.
Why was the original program canceled?: “Reading Rainbow” saw an end to its 23-year run in 2009. One of the reasons the show ended was because of funding. It would have cost several hundred thousand dollars to renew the show’s broadcasting rights, according to John Grant, who was in charge of content at WNED Buffalo, at the time.
What is LeVar Burton doing now?: Since the end of the show, Burton has still been active in the mission to encourage children to read.
- He started Skybrary, an interactive digital library, and currently has a podcast called, ‘‘LeVar Burton Reads.”
- After the cancellation of “Reading Rainbow,” Burton began a Kickstarter to “Bring Reading Rainbow Back,” according to NPR.
- The Kickstarter campagin raised more than $5 million, and Burton stated every penny would go to bringing free access to “Reading Rainbow” to children everywhere.
- In 2015, WNED sued Burton for continuing to use the “Reading Rainbow” name without their permission. Burton later changed his company’s name to “LeVar Burton Kids.”