Critics ditch AT THE MOVIES

From July 21-22, 2008:

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Articles in the Chicago Tribune covering the departure of Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper from the long-running movie review program AT THE MOVIES, to be replaced by Ben Lyons of E! Entertainment Television and Ben Mankiewicz of Turner Classic Movies.


Editor’s note: The article at the first link above serves as a good composite of all the reports issued by the media outlets on Sunday and Monday. That Roger Ebert would officially exit is no surprise whatsoever, given his ailments. That Richard Roeper would do the same is also no surprise; who in their right mind could continue to function under the much more famous shadow of a co-worker in absentia for two years and be happy about it?

That Roeper would announce his defection prior to Ebert is a bit of a surprise, but maybe coordination between the critics happens to be immaterial at this point. Notice how, in all their comments about continuing forth on future programs, they never once say anything about working together again. One wonders the full extent of how “much” actually “transpired … behind the scenes,” as implied by Roeper in his statement, and whether it was limited to his dealings with Buena Vista Television.

The announcement at the second link simply proves that Disney had a game plan all along to retrofit AT THE MOVIES to run alongside the glitzier magazine shows like ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT. You mean to tell me that the brass managed to sign up replacements literally overnight? Not likely.

~ Jason Pankoke

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