Film critic Roger Ebert is reviving the classic half-hour movie review program, At the Movies, on PBS, Ebert announced Friday.
Roger Ebert to produce movie review TV show
The new show, titled Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies, will be hosted by Christy Lemire, film critic of The Associated Press, and NPR's Elvis Mitchell, a former film critic for The New York Times. It is scheduled to debut in January.
The hosts will also use the "thumbs up/thumbs down" rating system made famous by Ebert and Gene Siskel on the original version of the program. That element was removed when Ebert left the show.
Ebert, who lost his ability to speak after a battle with cancer, will serve as a producer alongside his wife, Chaz. Ebert will also use a computerized voice to appear in a segment called "Roger's Office." He will not, however, debate with the hosts.
At the Movies will end in August after 35 years
In making the announcement on his website, Ebert noted that he was happy to return the show to a public TV station. The new show will launch on WTTW Chicago, the same station where the original program — known as Opening Soon at a Theater Near You — also began in 1975. The program then expanded to multiple PBS stations and eventually went into syndication.
Siskel died in 1999 of complications from brain surgery. He was eventually replaced by Richard Roeper, who hosted the show with Ebert until Ebert's health problems forced him to leave the show. Roeper also exited the program, and after a revolving door of hosts, the long-running show was canceled in March.
"This is the rebirth of a dream," Ebert wrote. "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."
Lemire — for whom Siskel was an inspiration when she was starting out — finds it humbling to be on the same program as Ebert, whom she says is "better than ever."