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‘Reading Rainbow’ Star Wants to Revive Show as Livestream to Relieve Us All From Pandemic Blues

His appeal quickly gained support from his fans online.



Reading Rainbow

(TMU) — In times of crisis, people tend to look for sources of emotional reassurance that are capable of giving us a sense of calmness and serenity—and what better place to find this than in the faces and voices we’ve known since childhood.

One such familiar face is that of LeVar Burton, the star of the kids hit show Reading Rainbow and classic sci-fi series Star Trek: The Next Generation, who is hoping to revive his popular reading times to help us get through the doldrums and anxiety of the coronavirus crisis.

With many forced to shelter-in-place, self-isolate, and otherwise languish indoors, Burton is hoping to wear away at the cabin fever many of us are feeling through his podcast LeVar Burton Reads.

However, he’s faced some frustrating roadblocks in his goal of bringing us some relief from the pandemic blues.

Burton has been trying to revive Reading Rainbow for years. However, he has faced legal pushback from the original producer of the show, WNED, while also being forced to respect copyright law in his programming.

On Tuesday, he tweeted:

“I’ve been busting my brain for about a week now trying to figure out how to do a live-streamed version of #LeVarBurtonReads.

I figured that during this difficult time I could contribute by reading aloud to folks who could use some diversion for themselves and their families.”

In order to avoid legal complications, I’ve gone down the rabbit hole searching through volumes of short stories in the public domain for appropriate content for families and have come up empty.”

Burton’s appeal quickly gained support from his fans online.

New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman, renowned for his work writing fantasy, science fiction, and graphic novels, was the first to offer “blanket permission” to Burton to use any of his stories.

While Mary Robinette Kowal, a Hugo-winning author and president of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, pledged to facilitate putting Burton touch with writers from her organization so that he could get legal permission to read their stories.

Publishing giant HarperCollins also stepped forward and granted Burton permission to allow him to use any children’s book titles in their catalog until May 31.

Burton, who hopes to kick off his livestream soon, has been elated by the response. He wrote:

“These are amazing suggestions y’all. Thanks for your input! MORE NEWS SOON!”

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons |

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