is anyone still watching ‘Ebert and Roeper’?

Anyway, both Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper are both leaving At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper, according to the Associated Press. The AP goes on to say:

In an e-mail to The Associated Press on Monday, Ebert said Disney-ABC Domestic Television had decided to take “At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper” “in a new direction” and he won’t be associated with it.

I assume part of that new direction is a name change for the show, which would seem to be required. Another definite change: the thumbs must go, because Ebert and Marlene Iglitzen, the widow of Gene Siskel, own the trademark to the phrase “Two thumbs up.”

I watched Siskel and Ebert’s review show (which later morphed into At the Movies after Siskel’s death) on PBS as a teenager, and I have no doubt that they greatly influenced my love of movies, and my criticial thinking toward them… or perhaps just the idea that you could think critically about movies. But I cannot remember the last time I saw the show. Of course, Ebert has not been a part of it for quite some time, because of his own illness. And there has been a sense for years now that while Ebert himself may live for many more long years, the vultures have been circling his career as a critic. The end of this show, particularly in an era of declining mainstream criticism of the arts on the whole, seemed inevitable.

I predict that whatever Disney-ABC tries to do with the show, it will look like a blog — or, rather, a corporation’s idea of what a blog is — and that it will be gone in a matter of weeks.

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