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At The Movies, the ABC-produced syndicated movie review show made famous by Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, is once again switching hosts. After Ebert and Richard Roeper were unable to come to terms with ABC, the network decided to take the show in a new direction. In 2008 they hired Ben Lyons (son of film critic Jeffrey Lyons) and Ben Mankiewicz. Many people in the film community were outraged, with Lyons receiving the brunt of the criticism for his hyperbolic statements (calling I Am Legend one of the “greatest movies ever made”) and his apparent inability to engage with films on level much higher than the average teenager.

The new hosts of At The Movies take the show back in the right direction — A.O. (Tony) Scott of the The New York Times and Michael Phillips of the The Chicago Tribune will co-host, with the “new season” premiering the weekend of September 5, 2009. ABC’s announcement today was spun to sound like new hosts were hired for the new season of the show, but the underlying message in the press release is clear. Here is an excerpt:  “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.”

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