If everyone loved Reading Rainbow, why in the world was it taken off the air? Politics, says, host LeVar Burton.

“That’s the story that a lot of folks don’t get. No Child Left Behind is doing exactly that, and so the mandate is to teach kids how to read, the rudiments of reading, and there was no money in the budget to foster a love of reading,” he said in our Media Beat interview. “Look, we have spent so much money on the machinery of war in the last 10, 12 years, we are having to make really ridiculous choices. And we’re sacrificing our kids, literally sacrificing our kids.”

So, Burton and his business partner, Mark Wolfe, bought the rights to the name, launched a new company, RRKidz, and created the Reading Rainbow app featuring over 150 books, video field trips and classic clips from the TV show.

“We have value, a product that is of value for families, that is economic and full of the kind of enriching content that the brand, Reading Rainbow, has always been known for,” said Burton.

Part 1: LeVar Burton on the Future of Reading Rainbow & Printed Books
Part 3: LeVar Burton on How Science Fiction Influences Technology