By: E&P Staff
Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert has followed Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper in announcing that he’ll no longer be involved in the long-running show that’s now called “At the Movies With Ebert & Roeper.”
In a statement posted today on his Web site, Ebert wrote: “After 33 years on the air, 23 of them with Disney, the studio has decided to take the program named ‘Siskel & Ebert’ and then ‘Ebert & Roeper’ in a new direction. I will no longer be associated with it.
“The show was a wonderful experience. It was a great loss to me when surgery in July 2006 made it impossible for me to appear on the air any longer. [Ebert lost his voice.] Although I remained active behind the scenes, I feel that Richard Roeper and several co-hosts, notably Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott, have excelled at carrying on the tradition Gene Siskel and I began in 1975 with ‘Sneak Previews’ on PBS.
“Gene and I 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. We developed an entirely new concept for TV. Few shows have been on the air so long and remained so popular. We made television history, and established the trademarked catch-phrase ‘Two thumbs up.’
“The trademark still belongs to me and Marlene Iglitzen, Gene’s widow, and the thumbs will return. We are discussing possibilities, and plan to continue the show’s tradition.”
Earlier today, the Sun-Times reported that Roeper is severing ties with Disney-ABC Domestic Television’s “At the Movies” after eight years because of anticipated changes in the nationally syndicated program. His departure is effective next month.
Ebert’s movie commentary is syndicated by Universal Press.