Roger Ebert’s Famed ‘At The Movies’ May Be Axed


Film critic extraordinaire Roger Ebert has had to overcome his share of hurdles over the past several years. After a battle with thyroid cancer left the savvy writer without a voice, he handed over the reins of his iconic television series, At The Movies , to hosts Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky. Famous for its “thumbs up/thumbs down” rating system, the show is modeled after Ebert’s TV late 70’s partnership with late film critic Gene Siskel. Now, the landmark series is in danger of being axed, according to Rog’s blog. “Unless we find an angel, our television program will go off the air at the end of its current season,” he wrote in his online journal at the Chicago Sun-Times. “There. I’ve said it. Usually in television, people use evasive language. Not me. We’ll be gone. I want to be honest about why this is. We can’t afford to finance it any longer.”

The public television program — a nationally syndicated success, according to the writer (with the numbers to prove it) — is being funded in large part by Ebert and his wife Chaz, who used a $25,000 grant from the Kanbar Charitable Trust to get the show on the air. If someone doesn’t step up to the plate with a bag of dough, At The Movies has no hope of returning to the small screen after December — a sad fate for a culturally important program that provides honest and insightful film criticism. As Ebert explains, “Movie coverage on TV is otherwise so intensely driven by marketing that some programs actually cover the marketing itself.” Yuck. Do you think it’s time for the film critic to turn to Kickstarter for some help? Should At The Movies quit the TV circuit and move to the web?