Categories: Culture

LeVar Burton’s ‘Reading Rainbow’ is Getting The Documentary Treatment it Deserves

Reading Rainbow earned 26 Emmys and a Peabody Award during its 23-year-run on-air.

LeVar Burton‘s beloved educational children’s show, Reading Rainbow, will be the subject of an upcoming documentary feature from XTR.

Titled Butterfly in The Sky, the film will gather archival footage and testimonies from the broad team of educators, broadcasters and filmmakers who comprised the show’s crew, including Burton, of course, who served as both host and executive producer of the series. According to Deadline, the project is being directed by Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb.

“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,’ Whitcomb said in a statement. “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,” Thomason affectionately added.

Premiering in 1983, Reading Rainbow ran for 23 years on PBS, earning 26 Daytime Emmys and a Peabody Award before ending its tenure in 2006. Six years later, an interactive reading mobile app for children was launched to carry the baton. A release date for Butterfly in The Sky has yet to be announced, but the project does appear to be in capable hands. XTR’s recent titles include the critically-lauded documentaries, Ailey, Ashes to Ashes, and Feels Good Man. They’re also behind the upcoming Detroit Techno chronicle, God Said Give Em Drum Machines.

Hold tight for updates on the film in the months ahead.


Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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