The show that Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel started so many years ago is a victim of the modern age. People get their movie reviews from so many places now, half-hour syndicated shows like this aren't as plentiful as they used to be, and this show went through so many changes in the past few years that it was easy to see that it would be gone soon.
It's actually a miracle that the show survived the whole Ben Lyons debacle, so we should be glad that we got a year with Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott.
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.
Other people are turning in each week too, only they dislike the show even more than I do. Specifically, they can't stand new critic Ben Lyons, son of Jeffrey and the host of several other shows on TV, including Nickelodeon's My Family's Got Guts.
He also reviews movies and does entertainment reporting for E! Fans think he's a "quote whore" (he's the guy who called I Am Legend "one of the greatest movies ever made"), too buddy-buddy with celebrities, and only got the job because he's the son of film critic Jeffrey Lyons. These people have even started a web site, StopBenLyons.com.
It's actually Ben Lyons, son of movie critic Jeffrey Lyons and one of the replacements for Ebert & Roeper (along with Ben Mankiewicz). Lyons is going to host an updated version of the classic Nickelodeon game show GUTS. It will now be called My Family's Got GUTS. Because just GUTS would have sounded stupid?
Allison told you yesterday that both Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper were leaving their film review show, At The Movies. Ebert has been off the show since 2006 because of health problems and Roeper couldn't come to terms on a new contract. They both explained that Buena Vista wants to take the show in a new direction and that they wouldn't be a part of it. Here is that new direction.
The new hosts of At The Movies are Ben Mankiewicz, a host on TCM, and Ben Lyons, from E!. Not sure how these two got to be the new hosts, other than the fact that they're both named Ben and I'm sure we'll see some cute reference to that, maybe even in the ads or the intro. I like the fact that Mankiewicz is from TCM; makes it sound like he knows what he's talking about (he's also the son of Frank Mankiewicz and the grandson of the guy who wrote Citizen Kane). But Lyons looks about 14 years-old and comes from a network with celeb gossip and reality shows, so that has me a little worried.
Then again, he's the son of film critic Jeffrey Lyons (the host of his own movie review show, Reel Talk), so maybe it's in his blood. But the article above says he called I Am Legend one of the greatest films ever made? Yikes.
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