[08/05/09 - 02:08 PM]
'At the Movies' Names Two New Co-Hosts - A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips
Current co-hosts Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz will depart the series at the end of August.

[via press release from ABC]

'At The Movies' Names Two New Co-Hosts - A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips

New Season Set To Premiere Weekend of September 5, 2009

Featuring Seasoned New York Times and Chicago Tribune Film Critics

BURBANK, Calif., Aug. 5 -- At the Movies announced today that film critics A.O. (Tony) Scott of the The New York Times and Michael Phillips of the The Chicago Tribune will co-host the long-running series when its new season premieres the weekend of September 5, 2009. Both of these seasoned and influential film critics, who have appeared on the series repeatedly as guest co-hosts, will bring their extensive credentials and respected personas to the program. "We are thrilled that A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips will be lending their well-respected and influential voices to At the Movies," said Brian Frons, president, Daytime, Disney-ABC Television Group, who oversees ABC Media Productions. "They are regarded by millions of people as authorities in film criticism and will take the series back to its roots of one-on-one film debate that was established when the show first began with Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel." The series, which will embark on its 24th season, will continue to employ its "see it," "skip it," or "rent it" ratings system.

A.O. Scott will complete his first decade as a film critic at The New York Times in January of 2010. Over those ten years, in addition to reviewing thousands of new releases, he has written essays and articles about film history and the state of the movie business and profiles of stars and directors for the Times Book Review, Magazine and Week in Review sections. He has been a frequent guest on Charlie Rose, NPR's Talk of the Nation, The John Batchelor Show and many other radio and television programs. Before coming to the Times, Tony was the Sunday book critic at Newsday and a freelance contributor to dozens of publications, including The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Review of Books and Slate. He served on the editorial staffs of The New York Review of Books and Lingua Franca, and has edited A Bolt From the Blue, a collection of essays by Mary McCarthy. Born in Massachusetts, Tony graduated from Classical High School in Providence, RI and received a bachelor of arts degree in literature from Harvard and a master of arts degree in English from Johns Hopkins. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, their two children and two dogs.

"I'm overjoyed and honored to be joining At the Movies, and especially excited to be working with my colleague Michael Phillips, one of the most intelligent and wittiest critics around," commented A.O. Scott. "This show, with its long history and rich tradition, stands for the idea that there is a place on television for vigorous argument and independent thinking about movies."

Michael Phillips is the film critic of The Chicago Tribune, a position he's held since 2006. He has written about entertainment and the arts as a staff writer and critic for The Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The St. Paul Pioneer Press, The Dallas Times-Herald and the Twin Cities weekly City Pages. Phillips has covered movies for Minnesota Public Radio, WGN-AM, MSNBC and has guested periodically on the Filmspotting.net podcast, also heard on Chicago Public Radio. He has reported from film festivals around the world including Cannes and teaches annually at the University of Chicago's Graham School, as well as at the NEA/USC Arts Journalism Institute in Los Angeles. Phillips holds a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Minnesota. He lives on Chicago's northwest side with his wife, Andrea Lenaburg Phillips, and their 8-year-old son, John.

"I can't wait to mix it up with Tony, who's one of the sharpest critical voices in the nation," said Michael Phillips. "To co-host a show with such an extraordinary legacy is a privilege and an opportunity. I know we're both humbled by that legacy, and we're eager to get people thinking - really thinking - about movies and to guide cinema lovers in the right direction. And perhaps some unexpected directions."

Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz, co-hosts for the 2008-2009 season, will depart the series at the end of August. In discussing Ben Lyons and Ben Mankewicz's exit, Frons commented, "We tried something new last season and we think the world of Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz. They did everything we asked of them and they have been complete professionals. However, we've decided to return the show to its original essence - two traditional film critics discussing current motion picture and DVD releases. We thank them for their hard work and dedication this past year and wish them nothing but the best on all of their future endeavors."

"I loved working on this show, every moment of it," commented Ben Mankiewicz. "It was an honor to continue a broadcast legacy not merely started by Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, but created by them. No doubt the show is in good hands, with a great production staff, and two really knowledgeable and perceptive film critics in A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips."

The show first began in 1975 at WTTW in Chicago when Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel hosted the local movie review show, Sneak Previews. In 1978, the show moved to PBS and was syndicated shortly thereafter by Tribune Syndication and was renamed At the Movies. In 1986, Disney-ABC Domestic Television (then known as Buena Vista Television) acquired the show, calling it Siskel & Ebert & the Movies. Upon Gene Siskel's passing in 1999, the show retained the Siskel & Ebert title until the following fall when it became Roger Ebert & the Movies. In July 2000, Richard Roeper was named Ebert's new co-host and the show was retitled, Ebert & Roeper and the Movies. The show was renamed Ebert & Roeper in 2001 and subsequently was modified to At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper and then to At the Movies. Ebert and Roeper bid farewell to the series in 2008. Ben Lyons and Ben Mankewicz were named co-hosts in July 2008.

At the Movies will debut its 24th season in national syndication the weekend of September 5, 2009. ABC Media Productions oversees production of the series, which is distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. The series is produced at WLS-TV in Chicago. Check local listings for time and channel at www.AtTheMoviesTV.com.

  [august 2009]  


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