From Roger Ebert's website:
After 33 years on the air, 23 of them with Disney, the studio has decided to take the program named "Siskel & Ebert" and then "Ebert & Roeper" in a new direction. I will no longer be associated with it.Here's Richard Roeper's take, from a Yahoo! News article:
Several months ago, Disney offered to extend my contract, which expires at the conclusion of the 2007-08 season. I opted to wait. Much transpired after that behind the scenes, but an agreement was never reached, and we are all moving on.Replacing them will be TCM host Ben Mankiewicz. He's a reasonably likable fella, though he's not as good as primetime host Robert Osborne. He also comes from a fairly formidable pedigree: his great uncle Joseph L. Mankiewicz wrote and directed the classics A Letter to Three Wives and All About Eve; his grandfather Herman Mankiewicz co-wrote arguably the greatest movie ever, Citizen Kane.
Also replacing them will be current E! News movie correspondent, Ben Lyons. His pedigree includes his father, Jeffrey Lyons, long-time film critic and current host of the syndicated "Reel Talk," one of the many "Siskel & Ebert" knockoffs. A better way to describe the Lyons is not through their television credits, but through the fact that last year eFilmCritic.com named them two of the top 10 "Whores of the Year" among film critics. Jeffrey astoudingly was named the #4 whore of the year and, not falling far from the whorish tree of film criticism, Ben came in at #7.
I have not seen Ben Lyons criticize a film, for he in fact is really a film journalist, and I even use that term loosely. His appearances on E! amount to little more than marginal insider knowledge and good deal of useless industry/celebrity gossip, such is the function of the E! Network as a whole. I do believe there is a place for this kind of (puffy) movie reporting, but not on the show that introduced intelligent and entertaining film criticism for a whole generation of people who may not have been exposed to it otherwise. Is Ben Lyons really good enough to replace the late Gene Siskel or the inimitable Roger Ebert? If the powers that be at Disney who are turning the show in this new direction think so, I have some advice as to where they can stick their collective thumbs.