The baton passes again

Many years ago, I used to watch a fine program called Sneak Previews. Two guys, Siskel and Ebert, would review the new movies. Then those two guys left to start a new show, really the same show under a different name (At the Movies), but Sneak Previews continued, with lesser reviewers. Actually, it ran for quite a long time, despite the audience having followed the original hosts away, because someone thought it was worth funding the conservative review voice that ended up in the reviewer seat. But eventually, even that went away.

But after a while, Siskel and Ebert got an even better offer, leaving the successful At the Movies to launch the new Siskel & Ebert and the Movies. Again, it was really the same show. And meanwhile, folks tried
to continue At the Movies with other reviewers, but the audience abandoned them.

Some things don’t last forever, and Gene Siskel proved to be one of them. The show took on another reviewer, becoming Ebert & Roeper and the Movies. And its kept that title, despite health problems that have kept Ebert off-screen for years.

Now, the syndicators have decided they don’t want to keep paying the amiable Mr. Roeper (there were warning signs that they were tightening the belt on the show, when they stopped licensing that trademarked “Two Thumbs Up” phrase). So what’s Roeper doing? He’s starting the same show again, under a different title.  Meanwhile, the syndicate thinks that they can continue to have a success with their Ebert & Roeper and the Movies show, just by turning it into something more like Entertainment Tonight (because goodness knows, we don’t have any shows like that. Presumably, they’ll also change the title.

History is clearly on Roeper’s side in all this.

Published in: on July 21, 2008 at 5:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

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