The Ben & Ben experiment is finally over.
According to Chicago Tribune media columnist Phil Rosenthal, At The Movies co-hosts Ben Lyons of E! Entertainment Television and Ben Mankiewicz of Turner Classic Movies will not be returning to the show this fall. Their replacements: Tribune critic Michael Phillips and New York Times critic A.O. Scott. The move represents a repudiation of Disney-ABC’s attempt to appeal to a younger audience with “next-gen” reviewers of dubious authority, and a return to the show’s past, when rival newspapermen Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel dueled on a medium that seemed ill-fit for intelligent movie discussion. Phillips and Scott come to the show as seasoned veterans of the format: During Ebert’s long absence from At The Movies due to illness, both served as frequent fill-ins across the aisle from Ebert’s Chicago Sun-Times colleague Richard Roeper.
Phillips and Scott are set to make their debut when the show returns for its fall season, beginning September 5th. Set your DVRs accordingly.