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'Reading Rainbow' series is returning, but without LeVar Burton

The show is now streaming online, a method more familiar to a generation of children who use tablets and computers for both entertainment and education.

WASHINGTON — Take a look: "Reading Rainbow" is back more than a decade after the classroom staple TV show aired its final broadcast episode. 

But this time around, the show that aimed to instill the love of reading within kids is getting a facelift for a generation of children who rarely consume content through TV networks. Rather, the interactive show, now dubbed "Reading Rainbow Live," streams online, a method much more familiar for children who have spent two years having to navigate digital education. 

While the show may look different, the message remains the same: reading can take you anywhere you want and help you become anything you dream of. 

The first episode aired March 6 on Eastern time on Looped, a digital platform that was established in 2019 for one-on-one communication between celebrities and their fans. Young viewers won’t chat with pop stars but with authors, other guests and a rotating crew of musically gifted hosts, the Rainbows

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Another person who viewers won't get to interact with: actor LeVar Burton, the iconic host of the show who parents' eagerly welcomed into their living rooms for over 21 seasons. Buffalo Toronto Public Media WNED, the original and instrumental developer of the show, filed multiple lawsuits against Burton in 2011 for "theft and extortion," though these were eventually settled. 

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Standard tickets for household viewing are set at $9.99; interactive tickets that allow children to appear onscreen and gain access to the after-show’s six suites are $14.99 (guardians who purchase these must submit releases for their children).  

All ticket holders can later stream the event on demand for 30 days at readingrainbowlive.com.

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