Well, if there’s ever been a sign of the general decline in estimation of film critics, it’s that the new hosts of ABC’s review show “At the Movies,” from which Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper bailed in the past two days, are just that — professional TV hosts. Ben Mankiewicz, late of the Air America talk radio show “The Young Turks” and Turner Classic Movies, will be joined by Ben Lyons, who’s the son of WNBC’s on-air critic Jeffrey Lyons, serves as E!’s “film expert,” and supposedly once dated one of the girls on “The Hills.” Variety‘s Anne Thompson reports, with impressive deadpan: “Lyons co-hosts ‘Reel Talk’ with his father, WNBC film critic Jeffrey Lyons, and has covered various red-carpet events for E! Last year, he hailed ‘I Am Legend’ as ‘one of the greatest movies ever made.’ “
At her blog, Thompson notes that “I have never seen either of these guys. But the hue and cry is going to be fun to watch. The older target demo for Ebert and Roeper will protest. And the younger demo probably doesn’t care!” I’m unsure what TV demo I fall into these days, but I can’t imagine this new format will be anything more than a neutered, all-positive all the time package formulated to be gentlest on potential studio advertisers — which would make it not a review show at all. The new season starts September 6th.
[Photo: Ben Mankiewicz, courtesy of TCM; Ben Lyons, courtesy of E!]
+ Lyons, Mankiewicz to host ‘Movies’ (Variety)
+ Lyons and Mankiewicz To Replace Ebert and Roeper (Thompson on Hollywood)