Roger Ebert is leaving “At the Movies”, ending his time with the nationally syndicated program he and the late critic Gene Siskel made famous, the day after Richard Roeper said he was quitting the show.
“At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper” is ending after eight seasons. Roeper said he had failed to agree on a contract extension with Disney-ABC Domestic Television so his last appearance on the show will air the weekend of Aug. 16-17.
Roger Ebert said Disney-ABC Domestic Television, that owns “At the Movies With Ebert and Roeper,” has decided to take the program in a new direction. Obviously one Ebert and Roeper do not agree on?
“I will no longer be associated with it,” Ebert said.
Roger Ebert did not go into details, but wanted the show to remain as it was when he and Siskel, his fellow Chicago newspaper film critic, first hit the airwaves on PBS in 1975.
“Gene and I felt the formula was simplicity itself: Two film critics, sitting across the aisle from each other in a movie balcony, debating the new films of the week,” Ebert wrote. “We developed an entirely new concept for TV.”
Ebert is the copyright holder on the signature “thumbs up-thumbs down” sign that he and Siskel made part of each film review. Last year, as he was negotiating a new contract with Disney-ABC Domestic Television, Ebert said he had “exercised his right to withhold use of the “thumbs” until he had a new contract.
“The trademark still belongs to me and Marlene Iglitzen, Gene’s widow, and the `thumbs’ will return,” he wrote Monday. “We are discussing possibilities, and plan to continue the show’s tradition.”