Ever since At The Movies ended its historic run this past August, Roger Ebert has been promising to revive it. Today he revealed some more details on the debut of the newly christened Roger Ebert Presents At The Movies, saying it will premiere Jan. 21 on public television in 192 markets across the country, as well as worldwide via the Armed Forces Network. On a sentimental note, he also reminds us that the show will return Ebert to his roots at Chicago’s WTTW public television station, where Ebert and his late sparring partner Gene Siskel first made Sneak Previews back in 1975; presumably someone has since scrubbed it of any lingering Spot The Wonder Dog droppings.
Ebert said that while the station still houses their original seats, there will be an all-new set; however, the show will still find the hosts sitting within the same iconic balcony and using Siskel and Ebert’s famed “thumbs up / thumbs down” system. Next week we'll reportedly find out more details on the guest film critics dropping through—and, most importantly, who will end up being Associated Press correspondent Christy Lemire's co-host, after former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell was dropped for lack of "chemistry," according to a source who spoke to the Sun-Times. Rumors abound that Mitchell will be replaced by either "a young male in his mid-20s with little or no experience as a movie critic or as a TV talent," which sounds awful, or "a female version of tart-tongued former American Idol judge Simon Cowell," which sounds even worse.
But even if At The Movies reverts to its recent Ben Lyons-y gimmickry, fans can at least seek solace in the welcome return of Ebert himself: As he revealed in September, Ebert will personally be appearing in a weekly “Roger’s Office” segment, where he will offer commentary using his new computerized voice synthesized from his vast archives of footage—one of the few harbingers of our cold, robotic future that doesn't automatically fill us with dread. Anyway, go here to see if your city is among the fortunate markets that will broadcast the new At The Movies.
Here's an older glimpse at the new show featuring Elvis Mitchell, so you can judge his supposed chemical deficiencies for yourself.