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At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

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At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Old 03-24-10, 11:01 PM
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At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(


Long-running review show 'At the Movies' canceled
The balcony is closed.

This is the last season of "At the Movies," the long-running syndicated review show made into a hit in the 1980s by dueling Chicago critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.

The show's roots go back to 1975's "Sneak Previews."

Here's a statement from distributor Disney-ABC Domestic TV:
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.

Online reviews and aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic have made finding knowledgeable opinions movies easier than ever for fans, yet have also evolved the consumption of criticism in such a way that made the half-hour review show seem dated. "At the Movies" also never again found a critic pairing with the chemistry that matched the breakout pairing of Siskel and Ebert.

Tweeted Ebert: "RIP At the Movies."
Crud. I REALLY liked the newest version with Scott and Phillips. It's the easiest way to keep up with the newest movies if you want to see clips, commentary and more in 20 minutes on TV. Sigh.

Last edited by JuryDuty; 03-24-10 at 11:13 PM.
Old 03-24-10, 11:03 PM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Roger Ebert's twitter page:

RIP, "At the Movies." Memories.
about 3 hours ago via web
Old 03-24-10, 11:05 PM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Crap

This aired on CBS early Monday in my market and the typical CBS Sunday night overrun made it hard to catch every week....even with 1.5 hours of pad time.
Old 03-24-10, 11:16 PM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Online reviews and aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic have made finding knowledgeable opinions movies easier than ever for fans, yet have also evolved the consumption of criticism in such a way that made the half-hour review show seem dated.
I guess I am old fashioned but I could give two squirts of a rat's ass what a bunch of critics I never heard of or care about think about a movie. I watch At the Movies every week and rarely visit Rotten Tomatoes unless it's an after thought. I never heard of Metacritic until now. I really appreciate hearing Scott and Phillips actually discuss the movies instead of just reading somebody's random thoughts on some website somewhere. Rottentomatoes just high lights a quote from their review. Who really cares for that kind of reviewing?

I wonder if they are removing this from the schedule because of the rumored TV show Roger Ebert is working on?
Old 03-24-10, 11:29 PM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

That sucks I try to watch it as much as I can I love watching it
Old 03-24-10, 11:40 PM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

This news sucks but I don't get it. It's got to be a cheap-as-dirt show to make, so what kind of ratings do they even need for it to make money?
Old 03-24-10, 11:44 PM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Sorry to see this go ....
Old 03-24-10, 11:55 PM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Any notable movies being released that weekend? I wonder what the final review will be...
Old 03-25-10, 12:08 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Originally Posted by dhmac View Post
This news sucks but I don't get it. It's got to be a cheap-as-dirt show to make, so what kind of ratings do they even need for it to make money?
Probably other syndication options that would potentially make more money in that time slot.

Studios don't usually abandon shows that are making them money, so I'm sure it's something else.
Old 03-25-10, 12:18 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Great column by Phil Rosenthal on the death of At the Movies:

Disney-ABC to cancel 'At the Movies,' Siskel and Ebert's old show
Share |

"At the Movies" is fading to black after 24 seasons.

The cancellation will bring down the curtain on the Chicago-based nationally syndicated TV showcase for dueling film critics that traced its lineage to WTTW-Ch. 11's mid-1970s pairing of the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert and Tribune's Gene Siskel.

Disney-ABC Domestic Television and ABC Media Productions finally yelled cut Wednesday, announcing the final show with current reviewers Michael Phillips of the Tribune and A.O. Scott of the New York Times will air the weekend of Aug. 14. It was anything but a surprise ending.

The plug nearly was pulled last year after one season with poorly received Ben Lyons of E! Entertainment Television and Ben Mankiewicz of Turner Classic Movies in the critics' chairs.

That pairing was installed in a misguided bid to bring a new sensibility to the program, following a bitter divorce from Ebert and Richard Roeper, the Sun-Times colleague Ebert picked to succeed Siskel after Siskel's 1999 death from a brain tumor at age 53.

Instead, last August, just weeks before the new TV season, Disney-ABC announced it had hired Phillips and Scott. Respected print reviewers, they were a throwback to the tradition and standards of Ebert, Siskel and Roeper. But their earnest, sometimes bookish approach -- a sharp contrast to the slick, too often superficial approach of Lyons in particular -- failed to restore the viewership the two Bens squandered.

"To their credit," Phillips said Wednesday night, Disney-ABC "never tried to make us anything we weren't."

Scott and Phillips -- each of whom sat across from Roeper in the earlier incarnation of "Ebert & Roeper" after 2006 health issues that stole Ebert's voice and kept him off the air -- at least allowed "At the Movies" to die with dignity.

"This was a very difficult decision, especially considering the program's rich history and iconic status within the entertainment industry," Disney-ABC Domestic Television and ABC Media Productions said in a statement. "But from a business perspective it became clear this weekly, half-hour, broadcast syndication series was no longer sustainable."
Public broadcaster WTTW first paired Siskel, who was reviewing films for the Tribune and WBBM-Ch. 2, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Ebert for "Opening Soon ... at a Theater Near You" in 1975. The show began airing monthly almost a year later. WTTW eventually made it a weekly a program and took it national via public television in 1978 as "Sneak Previews."

A dispute with WTTW led Siskel and Ebert to commercial television through Chicago Tribune parent Tribune Co.'s TV syndication wing in 1982, and they got a better deal from Disney's syndication arm four years later.

From the very start, even when they lacked performance skills and a comfort in front of the camera they would later acquire, Siskel and Ebert were such a natural point-counterpoint that they came to define in many ways the genre of sparring experts on TV.

Siskel, thin, tall with a receding hairline, and Ebert, shorter, full-bodied with a mop of hair, were more than mere physical study in contrasts. Each could intelligently, passionately and persuasively argue their views with authority, a sense of perspective and history and the certainty the other guy was just plain wrong. Their affection for the films was more obvious at the time than their affection for each other.
"Gene Siskel and I were like tuning forks," Ebert wrote on the 10th anniversary of Siskel's death, noting he thought daily of his old sparring partner. "Strike one, and the other would pick up the same frequency."

Despite his on-air absence, Ebert's name and imprimatur remained with the program until the formal split with Disney in the summer of 2008. A hint of the trouble to come had surfaced a few months before, however, when the show dropped its use of "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" as shorthand for a recommendation or rejection of a film. Ebert and Siskel's estate owned the trademark on the thumbs.

The parting was not pretty. Ebert later wrote that the executive who brought in Lyons and Mankiewicz decided that the show's balcony set from both the Siskel-Ebert era and Ebert-Roeper days was passe. So "one of the most iconic set ideas in ... television history, which had survived for more than half of the life of the medium" and once seemingly destined for the Smithsonian Institution instead was leveled by workers with sledge-hammers and tossed "in a dumpster in the alley" outside ABC-owned WLS-Ch. 7, where the show was produced.

"We gratefully acknowledge the outstanding work of the program's current co-hosts, A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips, and top-notch production staff," the syndicator and production company said in its statement. "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."

It is not known if Disney or WLS have plans for a replacement show in the old "At the Movies" slots. WLS has aired the program after the late local news on Saturday nights and on Sunday mornings. A spokeswoman for Disney-ABC and ABC Media declined comment beyond the prepared statement.

Ebert continues to review films for the Sun-Times, and indicated on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" recently he may help launch a new show of some sort.

Roeper, a general columnist at the Sun-Times newly signed to co-host a program on WLS-AM 890, has been reviewing movies for his cable's Starz channel, with the video segments also available on his richardroeper.com Web site, as well as on You Tube and Hulu.
http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/...-old-show.html
Old 03-25-10, 12:24 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

From Roger Ebert's Twitter:

Ben Mankiewicz, a good guy who knew his stuff, was an innocent bystander. ATM may have been doomed the day Lyons was hired.
I completely agree with him. The magic and credibility of At the Movies went away the day Ben Lyons was hired. He is a complete tool and studio puppet who bring nothing to film business.
Old 03-25-10, 01:13 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Originally Posted by dx23 View Post
From Roger Ebert's Twitter:



I completely agree with him. The magic and credibility of At the Movies went away the day Ben Lyons was hired. He is a complete tool and studio puppet who bring nothing to film business.
Agreed...and his father Jeffrey is almost as bad. Like father like son.

Too bad about ATM. The current incarnation is/was very good.
Old 03-25-10, 01:56 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

What does the fact that they tried a new format which sucked with reviewers who sucked got to do with the current show?

I'm like the other poster. I know I can read reviewers, here, at the IMDB, rotten tomatoes, etc, but nothing was/is better than watching that show.

I really liked the guys they had and I will miss the show A LOT. I don't get why they couldn't let it stay on, it airs twice over the weekend, once in a decent slot and once after midnight.

Just let it air in a time slot when you would air some ridiculous infomercial and I'll dvr it every week. Damn.
Old 03-25-10, 02:02 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Originally Posted by dx23 View Post
I completely agree with him. The magic and credibility of At the Movies went away the day Ben Lyons was hired. He is a complete tool and studio puppet who bring nothing to film business.
Was he the guy recommending some movies not based on merit but based on "so and so's a good actor/director so I'd like to see them in more things" I remember hearing something to that effect and thinking - so we should ignore the actual quality of the movie and listen to your recommendation based on a desire that the person will get more work and makes the actual quality of the movie an afterthought?
Old 03-25-10, 02:12 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

When ABC 7 in Los Angeles changed its time slot two weeks ago and replaced it with yet another tabloid celebrity show, I feared the end was near... This sucks...
Old 03-25-10, 08:56 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Reelz repeats the show every Tues and Wed and other days throughout the week.

Why not move the show to Reelz permanently?

Leonard Maltin has his own show on that network and Richard Roeper reviews the latest dvd releases every Tues on Hollywood Dailies.
Old 03-25-10, 09:26 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Originally Posted by wirefan View Post
Was he the guy recommending some movies not based on merit but based on "so and so's a good actor/director so I'd like to see them in more things" I remember hearing something to that effect and thinking - so we should ignore the actual quality of the movie and listen to your recommendation based on a desire that the person will get more work and makes the actual quality of the movie an afterthought?
Yup, that's him;

Ben Lyons Quote of the Week 2008
Ben Lyons Quote of the Week 2009
Old 03-25-10, 09:53 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Originally Posted by calhoun07 View Post
I guess I am old fashioned but I could give two squirts of a rat's ass what a bunch of critics I never heard of or care about think about a movie. I watch At the Movies every week and rarely visit Rotten Tomatoes unless it's an after thought. I never heard of Metacritic until now. I really appreciate hearing Scott and Phillips actually discuss the movies instead of just reading somebody's random thoughts on some website somewhere. Rottentomatoes just high lights a quote from their review. Who really cares for that kind of reviewing?

I wonder if they are removing this from the schedule because of the rumored TV show Roger Ebert is working on?
Perhaps I'm old-fashioned also, but I agree with you 100 percent. I look at RottenTomatoes only if I want to see reviews of a specific title. For me, it's not a good place to try to "discover" films because all it basically tells you about any given movie is "some liked it, some didn't." Gee how helpful.

What I love about ATM is that they discuss the big Hollywood films but also the smaller films and foreign films as well. I've "discovered" so many great movies through that show. For me, it's not so much about the reviews as it is about being exposed to unknown films. RottenTomatoes or Metacritic cannot provide that kind of insight.

So, where do we turn for this kind of news? Does anybody have a suggested replacement?
Old 03-25-10, 10:21 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Roger Ebert on At the Movie's demise

I gave up on the show after one episode of the Bens. Ben M. was fine. It was Ben Lyons that forced me to abandon the show until it was changed.

When Phillips and Scott came back, I started to watch it again.

I'm not surprised that the show is being canceled. All good things come to an end.
Old 03-25-10, 10:32 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Damn, I dvr this and watch it when I get home from work on saturdays. The time does get wonky when baseball starts the season though.

I tried watching Jeffery Lyons show when the the two Ben's ATM started up, after a month I stopped watching that.
Old 03-25-10, 11:29 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

I watched Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on television since the PBS days. The only other movie reviewer I watched was my local Arch Campbell. I've rarely been influenced by any review. I watched S&E for the entertainment value, to watch them argue. Often, when they started speaking about plot, I would mute the TV because I like to go into a film as fresh as possible. I only watched S&E's replacements when there was a film I was really looking forward to. I won't miss this show at all. I miss Gene and Roger. Gene and be well Roger.
Old 03-25-10, 11:32 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Originally Posted by boot View Post
perhaps i'm old-fashioned also, but i agree with you 100 percent. I look at rottentomatoes only if i want to see reviews of a specific title. For me, it's not a good place to try to "discover" films because all it basically tells you about any given movie is "some liked it, some didn't." gee how helpful.

What i love about atm is that they discuss the big hollywood films but also the smaller films and foreign films as well. I've "discovered" so many great movies through that show. For me, it's not so much about the reviews as it is about being exposed to unknown films. Rottentomatoes or metacritic cannot provide that kind of insight.
+1
Old 03-25-10, 11:53 AM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

Sorry to see it go. I've watched it since the "Sneak Previews" days on PBS. It's not the same show it used to be, though. Siskel and Ebert really used to argue and get angry. All the replacements tend to "respectfully disagree" with each other.
It's always a challenge recording it because of sports running long. It's supposed to be on 2:30-3:00AM, but sometimes it's an hour or more delayed and often canceled. I think it might have done better on Saturday or Sunday morning daytime hours.
Philips and Scott will probably get something else.

Last edited by Quatermass; 03-25-10 at 12:47 PM.
Old 03-25-10, 12:04 PM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

I think it should have ended when Siskel died.

But it definitely should have ended when Roger was gone.
Old 03-25-10, 12:07 PM
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Re: At the Movies (yes, the latest one) Officially Canceled :(

I've ignored most of the recent versions of ATM. I still pull up old Siskel & Ebert reviews online and enjoy them. Hope they don't take that away.

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