There are many things to remember LeVar Burton for given his extensive and astounding career. Whether it’s as Kunta Kinte in “Roots,” Geordi La Forge in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” or more recently, his hosting”Jeopardy!.” For millions though, it’s the PBS classic series “Reading Rainbow.” This importance and notoriety has not gone unnoticed, as the 2022 Emmy Awards will be honoring Burton with a lifetime achievement award.
Earlier this year, a major shake-up happened regarding Emmys categories. Essentially, there have been a number of changes to the Daytime Emmy Awards- namely which category children’s programming fell under. Due in large part to the amount of children’s programming content being provided across streaming platforms, the Academy decided to separate the category into its own set of awards. 2022 will be the first year of the Children’s & Family Emmy Awards. Who better to get a lifetime achievement award at the inaugural event than LeVar Burton?
Much to his credit, Burton’s devotion to child literacy did not end when “Reading Rainbow” did. In the early 2010s, Burton successfully rebranded the children’s program as an online educational app. Though successful, copyright issues arose between Burton’s company RRKidz, and WNED, the PBS affiliate station that holds the copyright over the “Reading Rainbow” name. Despite these hurdles, they were able to rebrand to LeVar Burton Kids and Skybrary.
To have Burton honored is just one more way of validating how tremendous his efforts in children’s television have been. “Reading Rainbow” had a consistent level of quality to it that easily puts it on part with “Sesame Street” and “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Each of those programs brought something unique to children, and there’s no denying Burton was as essential to the success of his show as Fred Rogers or Jim Henson was to their respective broadcasts.
We at Nerdbot extend our congratulations to Burton. Though we know an award isn’t needed to establish a person’s legacy, knowing that the Academy recognizes it is a well-deserved validation.