Back in March the sad news was announced that the long-running and popular movie review show At the Movies had been cancelled after 35 years on the air.
Although the show lost its edge after famous critic Roger Ebert left (due to health troubles), it continued on with Ebert's former co-host Richard Roeper and an alternating sereies of critics. And even with the disaster that was Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz hosting (thankfully that was shortlived), the show regained a lot of its credibility when hosts Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott took over for the show's final run.
However, just a day after the news surfaced of At the Movies being cancelled, Ebert wrote about a new show he has planned entitled Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies, and now that show has officially been announced.
The new half-hour review show (which will be produced by Rogert's wife, Chaz Ebert) will follow a similar format to the previous At the Movies but will be a lot more forward-thinking by taking into account the new ways that audiences anticipate movies.
Gone are the days when audiences went into a Friday night movie without knowing all that much about it. Sites likes Screen Rant facilitate the modern day movie goer's need for trailers, new set photos, special web-only content and, of course, the opinions that come from more average movie goers (who just happen to write for a website) as opposed to traditional critics.
Ebert's new show will have special sections focused on such things as restored classics and the latest "under-the-radar" films that are the talk of the web but might not be the talk of the town (Ebert will have his own special section "Roger's Office"). Fans of the old "Thumbs up-Thumbs down" rating system will be glad to hear it will make a return for the new show, although Ebert won't be the one giving them ("You can't have three thumbs," he says).
Since Ebert's health problems have led to his inability to speak (although he is able to talk through a revolutionary new computer system), he won't be making that many appearances in the debate section of the show (although he's apparently got a few ideas of how he can chime in).
The two main co-hosts will be Christy Lemire, a critic from The Associated Press, and Elvis Mitchell from National Public Radio (and formerly critic of The New York Times). There will also be regular guest hosts Kim Morgan (MSN Movies, Huffington Post) and Omar Moore (The Popcorn Reel), both respected film bloggers.
Ebert had this to say about the new show:
"I believe that by returning to its public roots, our new show will win better and more consistent time slots in more markets. American television is swamped by mindless gossip about celebrities, and I'm happy this show will continue to tell viewers honestly if the critics think a new movie is worth seeing."
I'm certainly glad that we won't have to do without a movie review show on TV. At the Movies is an iconic show which was watched by millions of movie fans across generations, so seeing the original iteration to come to an end was truly sad. However, what Ebert and Co. have planned for the new At the Movies certainly sounds great, simultaneously keeping the flavor of the old show while moving things forward.
As a sneak preview, check out a sampler from the pilot which was recorded early this passed summer, including a review for Iron Man 2:
Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies is scheduled to air in January, 2011.
Source: Chicago Sun Times