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Trivia / Reading Rainbow

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  • Development Hell: After the lawsuit with LeVar was settled in 2017, WQED claimed that they’re working on a retool of the show. Two years have since passed and no retool has ever surfaced. Some fans see this as Laser-Guided Karma for daring to unjustly take the brand back from LeVar (who honestly thought he had bought up the copyrights and trademarks lock, stock and barrel several years prior).
  • Executive Meddling: An inevitability for any PBS show, considering the lack of funding and constant disagreement about how to secure appropriate revenue streams.
    • The cast learned the show had been cancelled just before the night they would accept their 26th Emmy award. LeVar Burton was the one who made the announcement during the acceptance speech. He could barely mask the rage and the disappointment in his voice.
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    • It ends happily, however, as LeVar Burton pursued and obtained the full rights to the show afterwards and now owns it. It lives on as a constantly updating iPad app that features all of the show's normal contents. Even better, the app is available worldwide, ensuring that everyone has equal access to the franchise (so long as they have a properly funded iTunes account and an internet connection fast enough for video, and access to the app store). And with the success of the Kickstarter campaign, the app will now be ported to various other platforms as well, making the franchise more accessible than before.
    • Unfortunately, things have not ended there. Burton was thrown into an ongoing legal dispute with PBS station / show producer WNED, which claims that Burton is using the name and concept of the show illegally, having been only the host of the show and not who actually owns the rights to it (LeVar had thought that he had bought the copyrights, patents and trademarks up lock stock and barrel from WNED). In October 2017, WNED announced the dispute had been resolved, and later announced a retool of the show. The retool has been stuck in Development Hell since.
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  • Freemium: The iOS app is free and you can check out most books without a subscription. But to view the field trip videos and check out certain books, you'll need to fork out for a subscription of US$9.99 a month. It's worth every penny however. Well, somebody has to pay for the server space and the royalties of the books. Thanks to the Kickstarter campaign, this subscription version has been made available without charge to a number of schools.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The second opening sequence never appeared on any physical home video releases, and it took years for a recording of it to appear online.
  • Missing Episode: Two of the shows' 155 episodes were pulled from rotation. They were "Arthur's Eyes" from season 1 in 1983 (because the PBS kids show had adapted the book as one of its episodes), and "The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth" from season 8 in 1990 (for the same reason as the Arthur example, though that show eventually moved off PBS and onto several different commercial networks). Amazon eventually posted the latter online, from a print utilizing the second version of the theme song.
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  • Never Work with Children or Animals: Some outtakes shown at the beginning of "Ludlow Laughs" show that LeVar had some very painful / embarrassing episodes involving animals in making the show. But, at least, looking back, he can laugh about them.
  • Out of Order: Two season 4 episodes that aired in 1986, "Animal Cafe" and "Watch the Stars Come Out", were actually shot during season 3 in 1985. The tell-tale signs are the style of end credits, and LeVar sporting a mustache and afro (he was clean-shaved and sporting a flat-top in all the episodes that were shot in 1986).
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