In a statement announcing the return of the weekly series, Ebert said this is the rebirth of a dream. "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."
Although Ebert will be involved as a producer and will be contributing pieces (using a computer voice - his battle with cancer has left him unable to speak) each week, he will not be debating the merits of new films with the show's hosts. But Mitchell and Lemire will be using Ebert's copyrighted Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down rating system. "They'll be awarding the Thumbs, and you can't have three Thumbs," said Ebert.
Ebert hosted the original At the Movies with Gene Siskel, and when Siskel passed away from brain cancer in 1999 it was Richard Roeper who took over debating Ebert on the merit of new theatrical releases. The show hit a dark period when celebrity interviewer Ben Lyons offered his opinion of films alongside his co-host Ben Mankiewicz. The audience gave that version of the show a big thumbs down, and they were quickly replaced by film critics A.O. Scott of the New York Times and Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune. ABC canceled At the Movies entirely earlier this summer.
(Pictured: Roger and Chaz Ebert, Photo by Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images)
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