'Reading Rainbow' star LeVar Burton wants to livestream reading books amid coronavirus pandemic
FOX News - LeVar Burton, star of "Reading Rainbow" and of "Star Trek" fame, wants to livestream his popular reading times to help ease the coronavirus blues.
During the pandemic, which has seen many states enforce quarantines, or “shelter-in-place” and ”stay-at-home” orders, Burton wanted to chip in to help ease the anxiety through his podcast, LeVar Burton Reads.
In a tweet Tuesday, Burton reached out to the public to express his frustrations with trying to realize the project.
“I’ve been busting my brain for about a week now trying to figure out how to do a live-streamed version of #LeVarBurtonReads,” he said. "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.”
In 2014, Burton attempted to revive "Reading Rainbow," receiving overwhelming public support with a Kickstarter that achieved its $1 million goal within 12 hours. The crowdfunding drive accrued $6 million by the time it finished.
However, in 2017, WNED -- the original producer of Reading Rainbow -- sued Burton for control of his relaunch.
Burton’s livestream dream hinged on the fact that it would be free, leaving him with little room to find material that he could read without fear of running into legal issues.
Luckily, he found support from the public once again.
Neil Gaiman, author and creator of "American Gods," "Coraline" and more, immediately responded to Burton, tweeting: “You have my blanket permission for any of my stories Levar.”
Mary Robinette Kowal, the president of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and a Hugo-winning author herself, offered to put Burton in touch with writers from the organization to obtain more permissions.
Even HarperCollins issued a statement allowing Burton to use any children’s book titles in the publisher’s catalog through May 31.
Burton hopes to soon livestream his readings to families across the country and around the globe.