Tuesday, July 22, 2008

AT THE MOVIES WITH BEN AND BEN

Well, with Ebert and Roeper (left) both gone from their own show, Disney has moved quickly to find new replacements. The new hosts of At the Movies are Ben Mankiewicz and Ben Lyons.

And it truly is history repeating itself. Ben Lyons is the son of Jeffrey Lyons, who got a gig hosting the Sneak Previews show on PBS after Siskel and Ebert bolted for a better deal in syndication. Ben Lyons also has been labeled a "quote whore" by eFilmCritic, for infamously declaring I Am Legend to be "one of the greatest films of all time."

Uh, right.

I also find it interesting that two newspaper guys are being replaced by two die-hard TV guys: Mankiewicz hosts on TCM while Lyons works for the E! network.

Anyway, it doesn't sound as if Anne Thompson is impressed over at Variety. She figures Disney's going for a younger audience with this selection, but she says the "hue and cry is going to be fun to watch. The older target demo for Ebert and Roeper will protest. And the younger demo probably doesn't care!" She's right!!!! (See here for some early, unimpressed reaction.)

In the meantime, more details are emerging about what went on behind the scenes with Ebert and Roeper. Here's what the Chicago Tribune had to say about what happened. Rumor is that Roeper and whoever joins him (Ebert, Michael Phillips or whoever) may do a syndication deal with MGM. Anyway, it seems as if they should be back on the air in no time.

As for the old show, changes are afoot. Rumor is that Disney is going to wreak havoc on the old set and maybe get rid of the theater balcony setting and the aisle seats when the new hosts come in! Maybe they'll plunk Ben and Ben down in front of a DVD player, or something.

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