Roger Ebert’s new show hits the weekend airwaves next month, but without Elvis Mitchell


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Roger Ebert’s new movie-review show isn’t wasting time. After its unveiling at the Toronto International Film Festival as a weekly PBS series, Ebert announced Wednesday that the progam will premiere on Jan. 21 (the first weekend of the Sundance Film Festival, incidentally).

“Roger Ebert Presents at the Movies” was reported in September as featuring hosts Christy Lemire of the Associated Press and Elvis Mitchell of NPR, with regular contributions from Ebert, although Ebert said in a statement that Chaz Ebert will soon ‘make an announcement regarding the co-hosts and contributing critics.’


[UPDATE, 4:22 p.m.: Mitchell will not be hosting the show, though the reason is a subject of debate — chemistry with Lemire, according to this report, but something else according to Ebert. A new co-host is expected to be announced within the next week.]

The show has been cleared in all of the top 20 markets and has what Ebert says is 81% national coverage; it will also be broadcast internationally on the Armed Forces Network.

In Los Angeles it will air on the soon-to-be-independent KCET at 8:30 p.m. Sundays and on the smaller, PBS-affiliated KLCS at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, at least at the start. In Chicago, it will air on the public -television station WTTW, where Ebert’s first movie-review show aired in the 1970s.

Ebert, who is producing the show with his wife, Chaz (she’ll be leading the charge as as executive producer), and WTTW, said in a statement Wednesday that the show will feature an all-new set that incorporates the balcony he and Gene Siskel made famous. The thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system, which is trademarked and owned by Ebert and the Siskel family, will also be used.

Ebert said he viewed the film’s tone and content as a throwback of sorts. ‘For me, this is the continuation of a journey that began 35 years ago with a local WTTW program. I believe we will present critics in the show’s long tradition.’

— Steven Zeitchik


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