‘Reading Rainbow’ fades this month

PBS comes to the end of the Rainbow Aug. 28 when broadcast rights for one of the system’s longest-running kids’ programs expire and Reading Rainbow leaves the network’s satellite feed. Only Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood have had longer PBS kidvid careers. In 26 years, Reading Rainbow won 24 national Emmys, including 10 for best children’s series. “Its real core support has always been in the education community,” says John Grant, chief content officer of Buffalo’s WNED, co-producing station for the show since its debut in July 1983.

Seven years in a ‘dynamic environment’

Cecily Truett and Larry Lancit rolled the dice. In the spring of 1991, they took their production company and its best known product, and laid them at the feet of GKN Securities Corp., a small investment firm, which organized the initial public offering of their production company. By then, the Lancits had filled a trophy case with awards as producers of Reading Rainbow. But Lancit Media Productions’ earnings were barely enough to scrape by. It was certainly not enough to expand.