Disney-ABC Domestic TV is pulling the plug on the syndicated program the made Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel household names, reports The Hollywood Reporter Live Feed blog.
The show will end its run the weekend of August 14.
The show started in 1975 as "Sneak Previews;" it’s also been known as "Siskel & Ebert" and "Ebert & Roeper." Most recently it was known as "At the Movies."
[UPDATE: As the reader below correctly comments, "Sneak Previews" was indeed a separate show, started by WTTW, a PBS station in Chicago, featuring Siskel and Ebert.. It started as a monthly show, in 1975, called "Opening Soon at a Theater Near You." It was renamed "Sneak Previews" in 1977, and was on every other week and shown nationally on PBS stations. It then became weekly. Siskel and Ebert left the show in 1982 in a contract dispute. That same year Tribune Entertainment began airing "At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert." In yet another contract dispute, Siskel and Ebert left Tribune four years later in 1986, and went to Disney syndication, which created "Siskel & Ebert" for them.
Disney syndication said in a statement: “This was a very difficult decision, especially considering the program’s rich history and iconic status within the entertainment industry, but from a business perspective it became clear this weekly, half-hour, broadcast syndication series was no longer sustainable. We gratefully acknowledge the outstanding work of the program’s current co-hosts A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips and top-notch production staff, and it is with heartfelt appreciation that we extend very special thanks to the two brilliant, visionary and incomparable critics that started it all, Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel.”
Siskel died in 1999. In recent years Ebert has not been able to speak due to a cancer operation he had. However, Ebert was recently on Oprah Winfrey’s show and can now speak via an artificial voice, and said he would like to return to TV.