'Reading Rainbow' Host LeVar Burton Wants to Host a Coronavirus Reading Time Livestream for 'Folks Who Could Use Some Diversion'

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, LeVar Burton, former host of "Reading Rainbow," wants to host a livestream version of his popular podcast in which he reads short works of fiction. Burton hopes the project could provide some much needed distraction for families stuck at home as social distancing measures are put in place to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"I've been busting my brain for about a week now trying to figure out how to do a live-streamed version of #LeVarBurtonReads. I figured that during this difficult time I could contribute by reading aloud to folks who could use some diversion for themselves and their families," Burton posted on Twitter.

Burton was left frustrated by his initial research into the project, after not being able to find suitable content.

"In order to avoid legal complications, I've gone down the rabbit hole searching through volumes of short stories in the public domain for appropriate content for families and have come up empty," he wrote.

However, several social media users stepped in to help, either by granting Burton permission to read out their works or providing him with other useful resources.

For example, English short fiction writer Neil Gaiman wrote on Twitter, "You have my blanket permission for any of my stories Levar."

Meanwhile, HarperCollins said that online readings of the publisher's Children's Books titles will be permitted until May 31.

Other users, provided messages of support: "There is not an Author in the WORLD that would take you to court over such a selfless act. If I published a work & found out that you chose it to provide the world with comfort in it's time of need, I would weep tears of joy. You taught the WORLD to read. NEVER forget that sire!" Twitter user Antonio Lalo wrote.

LeVar Burton
LeVar Burton speaks at Sir Patrick Stewart's handprints and footprints in cement ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX held on January 13, 2020 in Hollywood, California. Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Burton is known for his acting roles in the 1970s television miniseries "Roots" and the seminal sci-fi show "Star Trek: The Next Generation," as well as for being the host of "Reading Rainbow" — a popular children's educational program which ran from from the early 1980s to 2006.

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'Reading Rainbow' Host LeVar Burton Wants to Host a Coronavirus Reading Time Livestream for 'Folks Who Could Use Some Diversion' | U.S.