In 1986, Gene Roddenberry approached Burton with the role of the then Lieutenant Junior Grade Geordi La Forge in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series.The character is blind but is granted "sight" through the use of a prosthetic device called a VISOR worn over his eyes.And if you throw a pebble into the pond, you're going to get ripples.I think the only constant is change, and it's always slow.Anything that happens overnight is lacking in foundation.Roots is part of a changing trend, and it's still being played out." Burton played a role as a visitor to Fantasy Island, was a participant in Battle of the Network Stars, a guest of the Muppet Show's televised premiere party for the release of The Muppet Movie, and a frequent guest on several game shows.The series ran for 23 seasons, making it one of the longest-running children's programs on the network.The series garnered over 200 broadcast awards over its run, including a Peabody Award and 26 Emmy Awards, 11 of which were in the Outstanding Children's Series category.
Burton also was the strongest link in the special Star Trek episode of The Weakest Link.As a result of his performance, he was nominated for the Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama Series.Burton reprised the role of Kunta Kinte in the 1988 television film Roots: The Gift.At RRKIDZ, Burton serves as co-founder and curator-in-chief, ensuring that the projects produced under the banner meet the high expectations and trust of the Reading Rainbow brand.On May 28, 2014, Burton and numerous coworkers from other past works started a Kickstarter campaign project to bring back Reading Rainbow.After Reading Rainbow went off the air in 2006, Burton and his business partner, Mark Wolfe, acquired the global rights to the brand and formed RRKIDZ, a new media company for children.Reading Rainbow was reimagined as an all new application for the i Pad in 2012, and was an immediate success, becoming the number-one educational application within 36 hours.In 1986, he appeared in the music video for the song "Word Up! Burton accepted an invitation to host Rebop, a multicultural series designed for young people ages 9–15, produced by WGBH for PBS.Burton was the host and executive producer of Reading Rainbow starting in 1983 for PBS.The sample is at the very end of the song, in which Burton can be heard saying: "Whoa, wait a minute." He has also lent his voice to several animated projects, including Kwame in the cartoon series Captain Planet and the Planeteers (1990–1993) and The New Adventures of Captain Planet (1993–1996), Family Guy, Batman: The Animated Series and Gargoyles.Burton is on the audio version of The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis.