In a statement released today, Roger Ebert announced: “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.” It doesn’t come as such a surprise — Ebert’s 2006 surgery made it impossible for him to continue to appear on air. But S. James Snyder at Time has more:
His departure now stems from a dispute with Disney, the distributor for At the Movies, over the show’s famous trademark thumbs-up/thumbs-down verdict on films. The rights to that trademark belong to Ebert and the widow of Gene Siskel, Ebert’s original co-host. Ebert’s departure from the show apparently comes after he and Disney could not come to an agreement on compensation related to the trademark.
Ebert writes “The trademark still belongs to me and Marlene Iglitzen, Gene’s widow, and the thumbs will return. We are discussing possibilities, and plan to continue the show’s tradition.”
Richard Roper made his own announcement Sunday about departing the show. From the AP: “Roeper said he intends to ‘proceed elsewhere … as the co-host of a movie review show that honors the standards established by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert more than 30 years ago.’ He also said he wishes Disney ‘the best of luck with their new show, whatever form it may take.’ “
[Photo: Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times]
+ Statement from Roger Ebert (RogerEbert.com)
+ Roger Ebert: The Final Thumb? (Time)
+ Richard Roeper leaving popular movie review show (AP)