Younger critics replace Ebert and Roeper on ‘At the Movies’

By Emily Morgan

July 24, 2008 at 2:09pm

Siskel and Ebert, Ebert and Roeper, and Lyons and Mankiewicz?

At the Movies has come to the end of an era. On Monday, Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper quit the ABC show, after Ebert’s 23 years working as a film critic for the program. Roeper has co-hosted the show since Gene Siskel’s death in 1999.

Ben Lyons
Ben Lyons

Replacing Ebert and Roeper are Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz, two up-and-coming film critics from families in the business.

Lyons is the son of Jeffrey Lyons, WNBC’s resident film critic, who co-hosts the syndicated program Reel Talk. Ben Lyons was also a contributor to the show and conducted interviews in LA. He currently works as the resident movie expert for the E! network.

Jeffrey Lyons’s father and Ben’s grandfather, Leonard Lyons, was a columnist with the New York Post.

Ben Mankiewicz, who comes from a family dynasty of screenwriters, will co-host with Lyons.

Mankiewicz’s grandfather, Herman, produced Marx brothers classics Duck Soup and Monkey Business and won an Academy Award for best original screenplay for Citizen Kane.

Joseph Mankiewicz, Ben Mankiewicz’s great-uncle, was screenwriter for the classics All About Eve and The Philadelphia Story. Ben’s cousin, Tom Mankiewicz, has penned three James Bond movies.

Lyons and Mankiewicz will begin their hosting duties on Sept. 6, at the start of the show’s 23rd season.

One integral part of the Siskel and Ebert system will not be passed on to Lyons and Mankiewicz.

The “thumbs up, thumbs down” rating system is trademarked and owned by Ebert and Siskel’s widow. Instead, the new At the Movies will be judging on a “see it, rent it, skip it” scale.

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