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'Reading Rainbow' legal saga is not just about a catchphrase

Another chapter has started in the dispute between WNED-TV and “Reading Rainbow" host LeVar Burton involving the possible reboot of the popular PBS children’s series for Netflix.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, WNED-TV is now suing Burton, for the continued use of the tagline “But you don’t have to take my word for it” on his podcast "Levar Burton Reads." There are other things involved in the lawsuit.

Sylvia Bennett, WNED's senior vice president for development & corporate communications, acknowledged the details of the report.

"The complaint is a matter of public record," she wrote. "It speaks for itself. The basis of this case is about protecting the integrity of the 'Reading Rainbow' brand and its future, not just about a catchphrase. WNED | WBFO is the sole owner of 'Reading Rainbow,' which includes, but is not limited to, its trademark and program production rights."

Burton's company, RRKidz, and Buffalo's public broadcaster, which co-created the series in 1983 to encourage students to read, have been at odds for years. According to previous published reports, RRKidz had obtained a licensing agreement from WNED, but the public broadcaster previously claimed the former host breached the deal by allegedly attempting to, among other things, produce the Netflix revival without WNED’s involvement.


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