Its curtain calling, as Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper severe ties with Disney-ABC Domestic Television of their weekly syndicated series after 22 years. Though the series would continue taping in Chicago, industry sources stated Disney would change to more of a Hollywood focus.
Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert began critiquing both mainstream and independent films of all genres locally in Chicago in 1975, leading to their series going nationally syndicated. The duo then went to mainstream television through the Chicago Tribune parent Tribune’s syndication wing in 1982, and then to Disney four years later.
Every weekend, Siskel & Ebert engaged in discussion of the latest movies — whether they give them “Two Thumbs Up”, “Two Thumbs Down”, or a split decision.
“Gene and I”, Ebert, critic for the Chicago-Sun Times said, “Felt the formula was simplicity itself. Two film critics, sitting across the aisle from each other in a movie balcony, debating the new films of the week. Few shows have been on the air so long and remained so popular. We made television history.”
Siskel died of a brain tumor in 1999, and was replaced by Roeper, columnist for the Sun-Times. Ebert has absent from the series for two years due to health issues that won’t allow him to speak.
Unavailable for comment, Roeper plans to continue co-hosting “a movie review show that honors the standards established by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert more than 30 years ago.” He wishes Disney “the best of luck with their new show, whatever form it may take.”
Roeper’s last show will air on the weekend of August 16.
It has been announced today that E!’s Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz of Turner Classic Movies will be the next hosts of At the Movies — called as the “next generation”.
“With the addition of Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz as our talented, charismatic new co-hosts, and exciting new segments planned”, said ABC Daytime President Brian Frons, “we’re confident that audiences will be enjoying ‘At the Movies’ for many years to come”.
Source: Chicago Tribune