It’s one for the record books. Reading Rainbow, the popular and critically acclaimed children’s educational series from the 1980s, has become the most popular Kickstarter project yet in terms of number of backers — 91,588 individual contributors as of at 11 a.m. EDT Monday. The campaign, which seeks to bring Reading Rainbow back as a website and app for smartphones and TVs, was launched by longtime series host LeVar Burton in late May. Kickstarter confirmed the news on Twitter, noting that it had surpassed the previous record holder, the Veronica Mars movie, at 91,585 backers.
There are only 48 hours left to go before the Reading Rainbow campaign ends, but the contributions continue to flow in, with $4.5 million raised at the time of this article’s publication. While that amount is still considerably less than the most well-funded project on Kickstarter so far (that would be the over $10 million raised by the Pebble e-paper smartwatch), it is enough to make the new Reading Rainbow campaign the fifth best-funded to date.
In fact, the goodwill for Reading Rainbow’s revival seems to be peaking as the project reaches its conclusion, with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane pledging to match every dollar raised after $4 million, up to an additional $1 million. On top of that, the other projects in Kickstarter’s all-time top five most-funded — Pebble, the OUYA Android video game console, Neil Young’s new music service / device Pono, and Veronica Mars — have donated rewards from their own campaigns to give to Reading Rainbow’s latest backers. Burton has said that if Reading Rainbow reaches $5 million by the time the Kickstarter campaign concludes, he will build apps for Android, Xbox, Playstation, Apple TV and Roku, and provide it for free to 7,500 classrooms.