Seth MacFarlane gives big boost to LeVar Burton's 'Reading Rainbow'

Seth MacFarlane gives big boost to LeVar Burton's 'Reading Rainbow'
Seth MacFarlane has pledged to give up to $1 million to LeVar Burton's "Reading Rainbow" campaign. (Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP)

LeVar Burton's efforts to resurrect "Reading Rainbow" got a big boost this week when "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane pledged to donate up to $1 million to match any money raised in the campaign's final few days.

With a week to go in Burton's Kickstarter campaign, "Reading Rainbow" had raised $4 million of its hoped-for $5-million haul. If pledges reach the full $5 million, MacFarlane's contribution will push "Reading Rainbow" to $6 million.

The original Kickstarter campaign looked for $1 million from fans, but with $5 million, Burton says the new online "Reading Rainbow" app would become available not just online, but on many mobile devices and would be able to provide free subscriptions to more than 7,500 classrooms.

As of Friday morning, the campaign had raised over $4.1 million from 86,000 people and was set to expire on Wednesday.

The app is expected to contain hundreds of children's books and video field trips and will approximate the experience of watching Burton's public television series that ran from 1983 to 2006. Reruns continued to air on PBS until 2009.

Burton hosted the series, which encouraged a lifelong love of reading in children. It won 26 Emmy Awards and a Peabody during its run on public television. When PBS ran into financial troubles in 2006, the series was canceled.

MacFarlane is a known fan of "Star Trek" and has used Burton and other members of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" cast as voice actors on "Family Guy."

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