“This has been my life for the last few years, every single day along the way,” enthuses the actor, who helped countless kids develop a love for reading as host and executive producer of PBS’s 26 Emmy-winning, 1983-2006 “Reading Rainbow.”
“This has been one of my life goals. I’ve been wanting to get ahold of the ‘Reading Rainbow’ brand for a long, long time and take it in a direction that would work for today’s kids. I’m a big technology fan. What we have today affords a level of engagement that’s tremendous. We’re all captivated by these tablet devices.”
LeVar tells us his daughter graduated from high school over the weekend and his granddaughter graduates from high school this week. And after that, he’ll be throwing himself into promotion for the project.
“We’ll be launching the 19th in New York. The app will be in stores on the 20th. I’ll be on Jimmy Fallon that day, and do a radio press tour. I’ll be online with mommy bloggers, talking to reporters. We’ll really be making a full court press,” says the amiable actor, who rose to fame as Kunta Kinte in the groundbreaking “Roots” mini series. “I think this might be the first time a celebrity is going on a press tour for an app, not a movie or television show. It’s a sign of the changing nature of things in this time.”
It doesn’t hurt that Burton is also stepping back into the TV series spotlight come July 9, in TNT’s “Perception,” which has Eric McCormack as an FBI consultant/genius neuroscientist who has a uniquely enhanced view of the world — by way of his barely-controlled schizophrenia.
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” veteran Burton became involved due to his past association with show creators Ken Biller and Mike Sussman. “They worked on ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ and I was a director on a lot of those. Ken is one of the smartest writers I know. I knew that he would handle mental illness and how this man’s brain operates in a really sophisticated and compassionate way — and he has not disappointed. The episodes have not disappointed,” says Burton, who plays a dean at the university where McCormack’s character works on the show. “And Eric — he’s one of the most talented actors we have in the business. I think his fans from ‘Will & Grace’ will be really amazed.”