After a one year run with new hosts, ‘At the Movies' on Wednesday named a new pair of film critics to replace them as co-host its long running program.
Disney's daytime television unit is letting two of its guest film critics for the weekly half hour program take over permanently, giving them the head jobs in the new season to A.O. (Tony) Scott of The New York Times and Michael Phillips of The Chicago Tribune.
They are regarded by millions of people as authorities in film criticism and will take the series back to its roots of one-on-one film debate that was established when the show first began with Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, said Brian Frons, president, Daytime, Disney-ABC Television Group.
The new pair replaces Ben Lyons, who had been a film critic at E! Entertainment and Ben Mankiewicz, who had hosted Turner Classic Movies and radio show The Young Turks.
Scott, who has been a film critic at the The New York times for nearly 10 years, said the show stands for the idea that there is a place on television for vigorous argument and independent thinking about movies.
Phillips has been a film critic at The Chicago Tribune since 2006, with previous positions at other publications including the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union Tribune.
I can't wait to mix it up with Tony, Phillips said, referring to his co-host.
Both new hosts paid tribute to the show's long history, which starts its 24th season in September under Disney ownership.
Below is a brief synopsis from Disney-ABC Domestic Television about the show's history:
The show first began in 1975 at WTTW in Chicago when Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel hosted the local movie review show, Sneak Previews. In 1978, the show moved to PBS and was syndicated shortly thereafter by Tribune Syndication and was renamed At the Movies. In 1986, Disney-ABC Domestic Television (then known as Buena Vista Television) acquired the show, calling it Siskel & Ebert & the Movies.
Upon Gene Siskel's passing in 1999, the show retained the Siskel & Ebert title until the following fall when it became Roger Ebert & the Movies. In July 2000, Richard Roeper was named Ebert's new co-host and the show was retitled, Ebert & Roeper and the Movies. The show was renamed Ebert & Roeper in 2001 and subsequently was modified to At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper and then to At the Movies. Ebert and Roeper bid farewell to the series in 2008. Ben Lyons and Ben Mankewicz were named co-hosts in July 2008.