It's truly a sad day for film fans who appreciate something deeper than a quick 300-word "should I see this movie?" review: Disney/ABC has just announced that after 24 seasons, the legendary show now known as At the Movies will close its curtains for good after the current season ends this August.
The long-running syndicated movie review show has roots running as far back as 1975 with "Sneak Previews", and was highly recognized for its two most popular hosts, Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel.
After Siskel died in the late '90s, Ebert partnered up with Richard Roeper and the show changed titles from "Siskel & Ebert" to "Ebert & Roeper".
Ebert left the show because of serious health problems and for awhile Roeper held down the fort with stand-in critics appearing every week. About a year and half ago, two horrible hosts, Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz, were brought on when Roeper left and the show became... let's just say, 'not as credible anymore.' However, Lyons and Mankiewicz didn't last long and a couple of reputable critics, Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott, stepped in last year.
The show got back a lot of its credibility when Phillips and Scott started hosting, and in my opinion, the show was once again enjoyable and interesting. But now Disney/ABC has decided it's no longer viable to keep At the Movies going. Here's the statement that was released:
After 24 seasons with us in national syndication, the highly regarded movie review show "At the Movies" (formerly known as "Siskel & Ebert" and "Ebert & Roeper") will air its last original broadcast the weekend of August 14, 2010.
This was a very difficult decision, especially considering the program's rich history and iconic status within the entertainment industry, but from a business perspective it became clear this weekly, half-hour, broadcast syndication series was no longer sustainable. We gratefully acknowledge the outstanding work of the program's current co-hosts A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips and top-notch production staff, and it is with heartfelt appreciation that we extend very special thanks to the two brilliant, visionary and incomparable critics that started it all, Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel.
Phillips and Scott
I don't know about you, but this news has really bummed me out. I'm not saying the show has ever been as good as it was when the legendary Siskel and Ebert hosted, but I really thought Phillips and Scott were doing a great job.
However, with the rise aggregate movie review sites (Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic), the need for a half-hour TV show is not as strong as it used to be.
Former At the Movies host Roger Ebert Tweeted this after the cancellation was announced and I won't even attempt to top him: ""RIP At the Movies."
At the Movies will have its final show air during the weekend of August 14th, 2010.