It’s the End of the (Reading) Rainbow for LeVar Burton


It’s the End of the (Reading) Rainbow for LeVar Burton

Oct 24, 2017

END OF THE RAINBOW: LeVar Burton re-kindled childhood imaginations and nostalgia when he launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2014 to reboot Reading Rainbow as an app. Yet that started a series of legal battles between Burton and WNED, the PBS affiliate in Buffalo, New York that owns rights to the Reading Rainbow brand.

In 2011, WNED reached a licensing deal to let Burton’s group, RRKidz, market and distribute original Reading Rainbow content. But the crowdfunding campaign raised questions about whether Burton violated terms of the agreement. Vulture outlines the disputes, which concern whether RRKidz had rights to create new digital episodes—and whether Burton himself had the right to use his famous catchphrase: “but you don’t have to take my word for it.”

As a result of two lawsuits that wrapped up last week, Burton “no longer licenses the show’s brand,” reports Current. The name RRKidz is also no longer around, having been rebranded as LeVar Burton Kids. Here’s one small consolation: Burton said he is legally allowed to use his catchphrase. (So take his word for it.)

Burton will continue his efforts to promote literacy among children and adults. Here’s an interview he did with EdSurge from April 2017.


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