On Aug. 14, the 'At the Movies' balcony will officially be closed for good.
According to the Live Feed, Disney-ABC Domestic TV has canceled the long-running series after 24 years in syndication.
"This was a very difficult decision, especially considering the program's rich history and iconic status within the entertainment industry, but from a business perspective it became clear this weekly, half-hour, broadcast syndication series was no longer sustainable," the distributor said in a statement.
As fans of 'At The Movies' know, Ebert's been off the air for almost four years, since complications from cancer surgery on his jaw left him unable to eat, drink, or speak. The pictures of Ebert that accompany the story are stark; no matter how many times I see it, the image of the withered lower half of his face is tough to see.
The article, though, is inspiring; it shows an Ebert who has been able to come to terms with how he's currently living his life and how he navigates through it, mostly through the excellent writing on his Chicago Sun-Times blog. But the most emotionally-charged moment in the whole story was his visible anger at seeing that the video of his 1999 Gene Siskel tribute show has been pulled off his 2009 blog entry about his partner and friend's death.
The Chicago Sun-Times movie critic and original host of At The Movies with his longtime partner Gene Siskel talked about how producers completely remade the show.
The changes ranged from the show's hosts down to the famous balcony set that the studio "tore at our set with sledge-hammers, and it collected in a dumpster in the alley."
The new series run with fresh hosts (New York Times film critic, A.O. Scott (left), and Chicago Tribune film critic, Michael Phillips (right)) has gone 180 degrees in the other direction from the lighter, more sensationalized previous season.
Last year's host combination of Ben Mankiewicz and Ben Lyons often came off more glib than informative -- leaving both critics and fans wondering what happened to the more measured, analytical tone of former hosts Roger Ebert, Richard Roeper and the late Gene Siskel.
Between the two of them, Scott and Phillips bring decades of entertainment writing and critiquing experience -- combining a love of movies with a willingness to tick off the Hollywood powers that be when necessary.
After only a year on the job, the duo has been dropped from hosting the weekend movie review show 'At the Movies,' according to ABC News. They'll be replaced by film critics A.O. Scott (The New York Times) and Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune), effective Sept. 5.
As hosts, Lyons and Mankewicz received a big thumbs down from their peers. Lyons in particular was the subject of a great deal of bad press, such as a 2008 LA Times piece asking the question "Is Ben Lyons the most hated film critic in America?" Many -- including those at the website StopBenLyons.com -- took issue with Lyons' reviews, particularly 2007's 'I Am Legend,' which he called one of the greatest movies ever made.
Disney and ABC film-canned Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz this week. The show's now-dismissed young, hipster critics never really showed any particular cinema savvy besides the ability to unfurl sarcastic reviews. And their writing credentials won't be mistaken for the bylines Ebert and Siskel piled up in their careers.
To reverse course in hope of saving At the Movies, executives are turning to two guys with established chops.
On the other hand, thanks to Palin's poor performance in interview segments with CBS anchor Katie Couric, and Tina Fey's spot-on impression of her on Saturday Night Live, the Governor's image has taken a hit. There have been questions about how smart she is, as well as how qualified she is to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.
"Several months ago, Disney offered to extend my contract, which expires at the conclusion of the 2007-08 season," Roeper told the Associated Press.
Ebert & Roeper co-host Richard Roeper has a new gig, host of the new monthly Starz series Starz Inside.
Or maybe we should say Roeper has another gig, as he'll be staying with the longrunning syndicated movie review show too. Starz Inside will be a series of specials that take a behind the scenes look at the movie industry. Episodes will include "Fog City Mavericks: The Filmmakers of San Francisco," which will feature George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, and Chris Columbus and "Hollywood Goes Gaming," which will have the history of video games and their effect on the movie industry. They'll even have an episode on "Bloodsucking Cinema," which will showcase the world of vampires on the big screen.
The show premieres on September 24 at 9pm.
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