LeVar Burton’s ‘Reading Rainbow’ to be honored in new documentary
The documentary will feature archival footage and interviews with Burton himself, as well as other people involved in the iconic show
LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow is getting the documentary treatment. Per new reports, the iconic series is set to be honored with a new documentary from XTR called Butterfly in the Sky.
Reading Rainbow has an undeniable legacy. Running for 26 years, the children’s educational television program received over 250 awards during its impressive run, as well as becoming the most-watched PBS program in the classroom. While the series’ impact is still felt today, this new documentary is set to chronicle the history of the acclaimed program and “honor the show’s legacy and teach younger generations about this milestone in television history in our current era of distance learning,” per The Hollywood Reporter.
The documentary will reportedly feature archival footage and interviews with Burton himself, as well as “major broadcasters, educators, and filmmakers involved in the show that encouraged a love of books and reading among children.” The documentary will be directed by Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb, the duo behind GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, Jasper Mall.
Whitcomb shared in a statement, “Reading Rainbow was my window into the big city and into diverse cultures. With segments like those in ‘Hill of Fire,’ ‘Liang and the Magic Paintbrush,’ and countless other episodes, Reading Rainbow was arguably the first time I encountered ‘documentary-style’ television as a young person, planting a seed that would inspire me for the rest of my life and lead me to where I am in my career to this day.”
Thomason also shared a statement along with the documentary’s announcement.
“As a Mexican-American growing up in Houston, I was always surrounded by diversity. More than any show on television, Reading Rainbow reflected the cultures that surrounded me. When the book fair came to my school, I went straight for the Reading Rainbow titles. I didn’t know it at the time, but the show’s mission statement was manifesting itself in me. I devour books to this day and I know Reading Rainbow had a hand in that,” Thomason said.
Burton has frequently been in the headlines as of late, while the hit game show Jeopardy! remains in search of a new host following the loss of Alex Trebek. While Burton was a favorite for many to replace Trebek, the show ultimately chose executive producer Mike Richards, before firing him earlier this week due to past controversial comments. Earlier this year, Burton was featured in the New York Times in which he broke down why he wants the hosting gig.
He shared, “Jeopardy! is a cultural touchstone, and for a Black man to occupy that podium is significant. Look, I have had a career for the [expletive] ages. Roots, Star Trek, Reading Rainbow. Won a Grammy. Got a shelf full of Emmys. I’m a storyteller, and game shows are tremendous stories. There’s a contest, there’s comedy, there’s drama. If you don’t know your [expletive] on Jeopardy! you’re sunk in full view of the entire nation. The stakes are high. I love that.”
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