‘Reading Rainbow’ Is Returning After A 15-Year Hiatus

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An entire generation of children grew up with the classic children’s TV show “Reading Rainbow” starring LeVar Burton. Now, a new generation of kids will have the chance to immerse themselves in the best of children’s literature when an updated version of the original show hits the airwaves in 2022.

The new series, called “Reading Rainbow Live,” will open the next chapter of the Emmy-award-winning series next year after a 15-year hiatus.

According to a press release shared on Icon vs. Icon, “Reading Rainbow Live” will have many familiar elements of the original show that encourage children to connect with books. However, the latest iteration of the series also includes updates to make the show relevant and interesting to the current generation.

Reading Rainbow Live

“‘Reading Rainbow Live’ will share the same core values and structure as the original ‘Reading Rainbow’ program,” according to the press release. “Using original music, dance parties, field trips, cultural explorations, investigations of the natural world — and, of course, the book of the day — each 25-minute episode of ‘Reading Rainbow Live’ will feature a different theme designed to engage and inform young viewers.”

One of the major differences between the original show and “Reading Rainbow Live” will be the absence of original host LeVar Burton, who hosted the show throughout its entire run from 1983-2006 on PBS.

LeVar Burton
Greg Allen/Invision/AP

In Burton’s place, a group of co-hosts known as The Rainbows will take turns hosting the live show.

The show’s creative director, Amy Guglielmo, told CBS News they’re committed to having a culturally diverse cast so viewers can see reflections of themselves on the screen.

“We think the rainbow, this fun and diverse ensemble cast, will allow children to just identify with these hosts, and it’s just a totally new experience and it’s truly an experience,” Guglielmo said in the interview.

Producers are still casting for the show; a recent tweet calls for candidates to “Apply to be the next Rainbow!”:

In addition to the new cast, the episodes will have a live, interactive feature through the virtual platform Looped that allows children “to engage, play games, and even have an opportunity to be featured ‘on stage’ during each episode of ‘Reading Rainbow Live,'” according to the press release.

The show also plans to highlight a wide variety of books to give children an opportunity to explore different authors, cultures and adventures.

“We really want kids to see themselves in the books that we’re choosing, and we’re going to use diverse creators, authors, illustrators, [and] settings,” Gugliemo told CBS.

To stay up-to-date on “Reading Rainbow Live” announcements, including premiere date, the full cast listing, and how to get tickets to the live show, visit the show’s website.