June 27, 2014 at 10:21 AM ET
In the “Reading Rainbow” theme song, books give children “friends to know and ways to grow.” Now the series itself will be growing thanks to friend Seth MacFarlane, who has pledged $1 million toward the reboot of the award-winning kids' literacy program.
Host LeVar Burton shared the happy news in a video statement on the show’s Kickstarter page Thursday, calling MacFarlane’s generosity “stupendous.” Addressing the “Family Guy” creator directly, Burton added, “You’ve got deep pockets, baby, but you’ve got an even bigger heart.”
The “Reading Rainbow” fundraising campaign is aimed at reviving the beloved TV series (which ran on PBS from 1983 to 2006) as a web show for underserved classrooms. To date, more than 85,000 donors have chipped in a combined $4.1 million for the effort.
MacFarlane will match up to $1 million donated between now and the close of the campaign on July 2. It is hoped that the extra infusion of cash will expand the series to mobile platforms and enable free access for thousands of additional schools.
While a rep for MacFarlane confirmed the offer is legit, the “Ted” director himself hasn’t commented publicly. It's not his first foray into educational altruism, though: In 2012, the star footed the bill for acquiring the papers of astronomer Carl Sagan, then donated the material to the Library of Congress.
MacFarlane’s family ties to the classroom could explain why. His late mother, Ann, was a school administrator who studied early-childhood education; his father, Ronald, is a retired teacher.