Seth MacFarlane, the man behind such hits as Family Guy, American Dad and Ted, has pledged up to $1 million to help create an internet version of the American children's show Reading Rainbow.

The 40-year-old star was a huge fan of the show, which ran from 1983 to 2009 and introduced children to the joy of reading books.

Now former Reading Rainbow presenter LeVar Burton, who also played Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, is aiming to fund a free online library for schools via Kickstarter.

The Kickstarter appeal has already raised over $4m in pledges, and MacFarlane has vowed to match the next $1m out of his own pocket.

Donors can claim rewards ranging from autographed memorabilia to a private dinner with Burton, who hosted the programme until its cancellation in 2009.

"It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could 'go anywhere' and 'be anything,'" Burton said on his Kickstarter post.

Burton said that his company, RRKidz, was overwhelmed by his pal's "amazing generosity". MacFarlane's spokeswoman confirmed the offer.

"Starting right now, Seth has agreed to match our next $1,000,000 of pledges, to help us reach even more schools in need!" LeVar Burton wrote on the Kickstarter page. "That's right: for each dollar pledged over $4,000,000, Seth will MATCH IT, dollar for dollar, up to 1 MILLION DOLLARS!

"But before you start calling your friends and spreading the word, please help me thank my friend, Seth, for his amazing generosity. With his help, we can make an even bigger difference for an entire generation of kids. That's just huge."

Watch the Reading Rainbow fundraising film on YouTube, below.