Following Disney/ABC Domestic TV’s recent cancellation of the syndicated At the Movies after a 24 year run, veteran movie critic Roger Ebert just announced he will be launching a new weekly half-hour film review show, Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies, on PBS in January. It will be hosted by Christy Lemire, film critic of The Associated Press, and the controversial Elvis Mitchell of NPR and formerly The New York Times. (UPDATE: Nikki emails, “I’m betting that Elvis doesn’t show up for the taping more than once, given his track record. After all, this is the same flake who in years past didn’t show up for jobs at both the Los Angeles Times and Sony Pictures.”)
“This is the rebirth of a dream,” Ebert wrote on his blog. “I believe that by returning to its public roots, our new show will win better and more consistent time slots in more markets.” A decade before it became syndicated, Ebert and the late Gene Siskel launched their review show on PBS’ Chicago station WTTW in 1975 as Opening Soon at a Theater Near You and then in 1976 as Sneak Previews, becoming the highest rated entertainment show in PBS history.
At the Movies will bring back Ebert’s copyrighted Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down rating system, which was taken out of the syndicated show after Ebert’s departure amidsts his battle with cancer. Ebert, who cannot speak as a result of the cancer treatment, will produce the series with his wife Chaz Ebert. He will also appear in a segment titled Roger’s Office, with the help of a computer-generated voice. Ebert won’t be giving out thumbs-ups though. The two hosts “will be awarding the Thumbs, and you can’t have three Thumbs,” he quipped. Listed as “occasional contributors” to the show are film bloggers Kim Morgan and Omar Moore.