WNED files lawsuit against 'Reading Rainbow' host

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo-based public broadcasting company WNED is suing the actor famously known for his role on one of its former television shows.

LeVar Burton, who hosted "Reading Rainbow" from 1983 to 2006, and his company, RRKIDZ, are both accused of using intellectual property associated with the show that they do not have the rights to.

Court documents obtained by Spectrum News show WNED is accusing Burton of using the show's catchphrase "But you don't have to take my word for it" on his LeVar Burton Reads podcast.

They also accuse Burton of taking Reading Rainbow content and using it for both his own personal website and a children's book and entertainment subscription service.

Burton's camp released the following statement Wednesday night:

"LeVar and RRKidz intend to respond to WNED’s baseless litigation in court. LeVar will not let this unpleasant lawsuit distract from his commitment to children’s education. LeVar looks forward to expanding his content offerings and areas of focus through a new venture, LeVar Burton Kids. LeVar Burton Kids will continue to offer updated content through the Skybrary and Skybrary School services and create new original programming with LeVar's voice and mission at the helm. In addition to introducing STEM-based subjects, he intends to explore diversity, equality, and social emotional topics."

This is not the first time the two sides have faced each other in court. WNED has been in court with Burton for more than a year over a 2011 licensing deal.

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