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Los Angeles Times

Leno, Smith Sub for Ebert

"Tonight Show" host and well-known workaholic Jay Leno will take on another job next week: film critic.

Leno will fill in for Roger Ebert on the syndicated movie-review show "Ebert & Roeper" next week while Ebert recovers from cancer surgery. "Clerks II" director Kevin Smith has also signed on to substitute for Ebert; he'll appear the weekend of Aug. 12.

Ebert, the film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and perhaps the nation's best-known movie reviewer, underwent surgery for salivary gland cancer earlier this month. Buena Vista TV, which syndicates "Ebert & Roeper," says he's recovering well, but doctors have ordered Ebert not to hurry back to work.

Ebert and co-host Richard Roeper have been guests on "The Tonight Show" numerous times, and Roeper tells the Sun-Times that Leno usually asks that they arrive early for tapings so they can talk movies before going onstage.

"Jay watches movies with a critic's eye, and has a lot of interesting insights about movies that he's shared with me over the years," Roeper says. "Now he'll get a chance to share new insights about some big summer movies in the balcony setting."

Leno and Roeper are scheduled to discuss "Miami Vice," "Talladega Nights," "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Night Listener" on the show, which will run Aug. 5 and 6.

Buena Vista hasn't announced any other guest hosts after Smith, but other critics are expected to fill Ebert's spot until his recovery is complete.

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