When it was time to erase the mess that was Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz in At the Movies, Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott were brought on as replacements. While it was, indeed, a better critical mix, it was once again two white dudes who could deliver the same sort of vibe as Siskel and Ebert. Nothing new. No female critics; no racial diversity.
Well, as we shared last March, Roger Ebert took the final cancellation of At the Movies as a sign to make his own review program, Roger Ebert presents At the Movies. Ebert's Sun Times journal has now offered up the details on the weekly review program scheduled to kick off in January of 2011 on PBS. The principal co-hosts of the show will be Christy Lemire (AP) and Elvis Mitchell (NPR). They'll be joined by "regular contributors and occasional co-hosts" Kim Morgan of MSN and Huffington Post (who a few of our readers picked as a female alternative to Phillips and Scott last year), and Omar Moore, a member of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle. Now Ebert's the only white dude in sight. And yes, that means he's returning to the screen.
These are the faces of the new At the Movies, and I'm very impressed with the selection.
Ebert calls this "the rebirth of a dream," one that will continue the thumbs tradition while expanding into New Media, on-demand, and other markets. And though he won't be an active co-host, Ebert will act as co-producer and use his computer-generated voice to appear in a weekly segment called "Roger's Office," which will be "devoted to classic, overlooked, and new films." And, wonderfully, include his famous thumbs up.
A pilot for the new series has already been shot. Ebert says: "In addition to reviews of new movies, debated by Christy and Elvis, the pilot included a segment with Kim discussing a classic film noir, Omar discussing the growing role of the internet in the success of indie films, a segment with Christy and Kim discussing new women directors, and a segment where I review a new indie documentary."
You can check out a glimpse of the new incarnation in the demo below. I'm eager to see how Christy and Elvis find their groove and interact in a full discussion rather than a demo reel, and I'm sure I won't be the only one hoping Kim Morgan gets more air time. Check it out weigh in below. What do you think of the new At the Movies?