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October 4, 2015

Is this the end of At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper?

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 21st 2008 2:01PM
Ebert & RoeperI think this was a demise that you could see coming. Remember, back in April, when Chicago Sun-Times film reviewer Roger Ebert and the star of At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper announced he would never be able to return to the TV show because of his health? You knew it then. Now comes the news that the other half of the show, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper, is leaving the program. He's been co-host for eight years, having assumed the seat across the aisle that was originally held by the late movie critic Gene Siskel.

"Several months ago, Disney offered to extend my contract, which expires at the conclusion of the 2007-08 season," Roeper told the Associated Press.

"I opted to wait. Much transpired after that behind the scenes, but an agreement was never reached, and we are all moving on." Roeper's final appearance will air the weekend of Aug. 16-17.

This sounds like a beef with Disney, likely about money, because Roeper said he wants to do another movie review show. In a shot at the Mouse, he said, he was to "...co-host of a movie review show that honors the standards established by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert more than 30 years ago."

Eww, sounds like someone has been pulling the strings behind the scenes, influencing the commentary. Or maybe Roeper has other concerns that he'll reveal in the future, as he indicated in this statement. "I will be free to share the details on that program in the near future."

To me, this show has never been the same since Ebert lost Siskel. Roeper lacked the vinegar and spice that Siskel brought to the show. Then, when Ebert departed and Roeper became the main man, the program really lost its vitality.

Also, while I love tradition and honor what Siskel and Ebert created, is a movie review show like this really relevant anymore? The advent of the internet has made it possible for anyone with interest to find out about the current film fare in the theaters as well as obscure movies and re-issues or DVDs. Still, if a version of the original Siskel & Ebert could be conceived, I would give it a chance. But am I the audience they want? I don't know, even though I go to the movies about four times a month.

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I had a similar condition to Mr. Ebert (tongue cancer) and went through a similar regimen (surgery followed by chemo and radiation). So, I have been hoping (against hope I guess) that we would one day see a return to Ebert on the air.

While I cannot speak very clearly, I can be understood if I speak slowly and carefully. I still hope that maybe Mr. Ebert can find a way to get around his disability (perhaps with the aid of subtitles?)

Regardless, Mr. Ebert is a smart man, and I'm sure he's got something up his sleeve.

As for Roeper, I really didn't like him when he first appeared (obviously, he's no Siskel, but how could anyone fill those shoes), but I've grown used to him understand his POV now.

I'll watch what every they put out there... Everytime Ebert (and, in the old days, Siskel) moved on to another show, the old show just died on the vine. As I see it, this is just another chapter and show. I'd much rather watch Ebert and Roeper than 2 other reviewers aping them (Roeper and stunt reviewers were fun tho)...

July 22 2008 at 12:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

siskel and ebert was never able to be topped - they had a special chemistry, and when gene died it was just never the same...i actually met them both at various times - gene siskel attended my high school and visited while i was there (speaking about the anti-semitism he faced while there), and i met ebert at the edinburgh festival - we drank pints of guiness together and went to a bizarre variety show...i ended up passing out at 4am in someone's doorway and was woken up by a cop at 7. good times...

July 21 2008 at 11:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe Siegler

Well, the original Siskel & Ebert had the same thing. These guys left their original show, and carried on with a second show, which has evolved over time into what they are both announcing they're leaving NOW.

The original show had some other guys carry on in the same format - one of them is a fairly well recognized national movie reviewer now, but I cannot recall what his name is at the moment. I do not believe the original incarnation of the show is still running.

It wouldn't surprise me if the current show just gets new guys put in there, and disney carries on without Ebert, Roeper, and Phillips under the banner of "At the Movies with newguy 1 & new guy 2".

Meanwhile Roeper will go somewhere else, get another show, and I would hope that Ebert would be involved in name. Would be the spiritual third incarnation of the original show, if you catch my meaning.

July 21 2008 at 6:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually enjoyed the rotating format which Ebert and Roeper had for awhile.

It was interesting to see different movie reviewers and directors comment on movies that were out.

One of my favorites was when Kevin Smith was on there reviewing movies with Roeper.

It will be interesting to see how things shake out.

July 21 2008 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If Roeper leaves, I don't see how the show can possibly continue. With Ebert unlikely to return because of health reasons, it's barely the same show anyway. (I like Roeper well enough, maybe more than some, but he can't hold a candle to Gene Siskel, and his interaction with Ebert was never on the same level (for better and worse). Seriously, though, how can you have "Ebert & Roeper" if you don't have Ebert or Roeper?

July 21 2008 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sad news....I still love this show. But, I can see how a change is needed. A huge Ebert fan, I actually started DVRing this show after Ebert left. I will follow Roeper to whatever next show he does.

I do see this show as still relevant because I just like to sit back on my couch and listen to these guys talk about movies. On top of that, I was able to get to know and appreciate other film critics like A.O. Scott of New York Times. This show will be missed.

July 21 2008 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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