Reading Rainbow Raising $1 Million to Return As Online Show

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Actor Levar Burton and the creators of Reading Rainbow are hoping that $1 million worth of nostalgia can help resurrect the popular children’s program.

You may remember Reading Rainbow–and its impossible-to-forget theme song–from its days as PBS television series, which Burton hosted from the beginning. PBS cancelled the show in 2006 and stopped airing reruns in 2009, but the program lives on as an iPad and Kindle Fire app.

Now, Burton and crew are trying to raise money on Kickstarter to build a web version of the show, along with a classroom version with teaching guides, dashboards and other tools. If the project gets funded, Burton says they can put Reading Rainbow into more than 1,500 disadvantaged schools for free.

As you might expect, the Kickstarter campaign is loaded with Burton-related rewards, such as a personalized photo and autograph ($250), a five to 10 minute phone call ($600) and a private dinner with the actor ($3,500). Deep-pocketed Star Trek buffs can also pay $10,000 for a dinner with Burton and a chance to wear the actual visor Burton wore as Geordi LaForge on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

$1 million is a tall order for a Kickstarter campaign, but it’s still a fraction of what some of the most-funded campaigns have earned. At the time of this writing, Reading Rainbow has raised nearly $45,000 with 35 days to go.

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