Roger Ebert and his wife have been funding his newest show, Ebert Presents At The Movies, since it debuted in January, but they've found themselves running out of extra cash!
The new show, hosted by Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
, airs on public television stations and offers its audience an intelligent look at upcoming features. Rather than only have marketing sway your $15, this show provides an insightful look at the latest films.
Unfortunately, Ebert's dream of sharing challenging opinions on film is about to see its final days as a television series unless a miracle happens.
Unless we find an angel, our television program will go off the air at the end of its current season. There. I've said it. Usually in television, people use evasive language. Not me. We'll be gone. I want to be honest about why this is. We can't afford to finance it any longer.
In trying to get the show back on TV, we approached WTTW, the Chicago public station where Gene and I began on Sneak Previews in 1976. In the dusty corner, they still had the balcony chairs we used. We went in for meetings. WTTW said it would love to have the show back again, and spoke of ideal time slots. They couldn't have been friendlier.
There was a problem, which I didn't catch on to right away. They were not going to finance the show. I was living in dreamland. We were expected to finance the show ourselves. We would give the show free to those public stations that wanted it, using something called American Public Television to distribute it. APT is a different entity than PBS, but we would receive no funding from either one.
On Ebert Presents, a new Johnny Depp movie can get two thumbs down (or up, or a split decision) from two intelligent people who will tell you why they voted that way and challenge one another. Movie coverage on TV is otherwise so intensely driven by marketing that some programs actually cover the marketing itself.
Ebert is one half of the famous Siskel and Ebert who gave new films their thumbs up or thumbs down impressions.
It's sad when challenging programming dies, but maybe he can make it a web series? He'd probably reach more people, right??
[Image via C.M. Wiggins/ WENN.]