Roger Ebert is back and it's been a long time coming. Both myself (Jeff Bayer) and fellow TSR critic Nick Allen have had the pleasure of meeting this legendary man. I can't wait for his new show to hit the airways. Here's the official news release ... FAMED FILM CRITIC ROGER EBERT ANNOUNCES NEW WEEKLY MOVIE REVIEW SHOW
Roger Ebert Presents At The Movies
CHICAGO, IL – September 10, 2010 - Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies, a weekly half-hour film review program, was announced today by its producers, Chaz and Roger Ebert. The program continues its 35 year run of a show first co-hosted by Gene Siskel and Ebert and later by Ebert and Richard Roeper and others at Buena Vista Television/Disney. It will return to its birthplace, WTTW Chicago, which will serve as the presenting station for its launch nationally on public television. The show began as COMING SOON TO A THEATRE NEAR YOU, and later became SneakPreviews, where it became the highest rated entertainment show in PBS history.
The Eberts said it will air weekly beginning in January 2011, and in addition to reviewing new movies will expand into coverage of New Media, special segments, and an extended website. It will use the copyrighted "Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down"® format made famous by Siskel & Ebert. The program's principal co-host will be Christy Lemire, film critic of The Associated Press. She will be joined by contributing critic Elvis Mitchell of National Public Radio. Christy has been reviewing films for the AP since 1999 and became the first full-time film critic in the news organization's history in 2004. She is a Los Angeles native with a mother who loved Fellini and a father who loved Bogart. Mitchell is a former film critic for The New York Times and a contributor to NPR.
“This is the rebirth of a dream," said Ebert, who partnered in recent years with Richard Roeper. He said he will act as co-producer and employ a computer voice to appear on every episode, with segments titled “Roger’s Office,” with points of view andreviews devoted to classics, overlooked, and new films. He will not debate with the two co-hosts. "They'll be awarding the Thumbs, and you can't have three Thumbs," he said.
Occasional contributors will be Kim Morgan of Los Angeles and Omar Moore of San Francisco both respected and popular film bloggers. Morgan specializes in her love of film noir and classic cinema at www.sunsetgun.com and writes for MSN and the Huffington Post. Moore, an attorney, publishes reviews, essays and video essays onhis site, www.popcornreel.com. He is also a member of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle. Lemire, Mitchell and Morgan were guest co-hosts after the death of Siskel.
The program will be produced by Chaz Ebert, an attorney who for 20 years has been vice-president of The Ebert Company, Ltd. "A contract has been signed between WTTW and Ebert PRODUCTIONS LLC, and the show will be distributed by WTTW National Productions to the nation's public broadcasting stations by American Public Television (APT)," said Frances J. Harth, Vice President, Program Development and Syndication for WTTW. "We're pleased to welcome the show back home." Underwriters and sponsorships are being handled by VALENTI Advertising Design Ideas of Chicago .
A pilot of the new program featuring all the critics was taped in early summer, under the aegis of Tribeca Flashpoint Academy of Chicago, a school specializing in new technology. The pilot was directed by Scott Dummler of Chicago's Luminair, a full-service video production house, on a set designed by Mary Margaret Bartley. "In addition to reviews of new movies debated by Christy and Elvis," Ebert said, "the pilot included a segment with Kim discussing a classic film noir, Omar discussing the growing role of the internet in the success of indie films, a segment with Christy and Kim discussing new women directors, and a segment where I review a new indie documentary."
"The pilot won a warm reception," Chaz Ebert said. "Marlene Iglitzen, Gene Siskel's widow and our dear friend, was on the set when the pilot was taped, and said Gene would be proud that the format he helped create is still working as one of the longest-running in television history."
Although it will be distributed nationally, the show will be shot in Chicago . "Mayor Daley and the Chicago City Council gave formal recognition to our show over the years, and Governor Quinn also formally recognized Roger for his film efforts in Illinois," said Chaz. "That appreciation from the community means something and we are happy to be able to continue to produce the show in Chicago. We are in the process of scouting a location in the city to shoot the show, and we are happy to report that there are many full service studios with professional staffs to choose from. This is truly exciting." With a salute to Michael Phillips and A. O. Scott, hosts of the final season of the Disney-produced show, and another to Richard Roeper, a co-host for eight years, Ebert said, "I believe that by returning to its public television 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."
Ebert went on to say that with the support and added content of a multimedia website associated with the show, that Roger Ebert Presents At The Movies will be extended beyond the TV marketplace to take film reviews and features into a new robust arena. The site is anticipated to launch with popularity, given that Roger’s current site rogerebert.com enjoys nearly 10 million hits monthly. And it will be available on multiple digital platforms.