The money from nearly 23,000 donors will be used to bring Burton’s cult TV classic to a new generation of readers by building a web version for families at home, creating a classroom version for teachers and providing free access to it for schools in need.
The online campaign, fueled by buzz generated on social media, surpassed $1 million shortly before 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Burton, the creator and host of PBS’ series Reading Rainbow from 1983 to 2006, launched the Kickstarter project earlier in the day.
Among the big-name supporters of the campaign throughout the day were U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and Burton’s fellow Star Trek: The Next Generation alum Wil Wheaton:
Like every Kickstarter campaign, Burton’s project offered several levels of rewards to supporters based on how much they individually donated. Rewards this time included a chance to wear Burton’s Star Trek visor, Reading Rainbow app subscriptions, books, autographed memorabilia, dinner with Burton and an appearance in a video field trip.
Burton’s campaign isn’t the only Kickstarter campaign to reach the $1 million mark within 24 hours. Last year, actress Kristen Bell’s campaign to crowdfund $2 million for a Veronica Mars movie soared above its halfway point within five hours. Meanwhile, the campaign for video game Torment hit the mark within seven hours, and the campaign for the OUYA gaming console accomplished the feat in roughly eight hours.
Burton previously revived Reading Rainbow in 2012 as a tablet app filled with interactive books and video field trips. This new project will expand the availability to more platforms.
“Just being on tablets simply won’t get the job done for way too many of our families,” he said in a video (below) promoting the campaign. “This Kickstarter campaign is about reaching every web-connected child. Universal access. Thousands of more books than what we have now. And hundreds of more video field trips.”
The Kickstarter campaign had until July 2 to reach the $1 million goal — the funds would only go toward the project if it reached the total pledge mark. Success.