In a move that will surely cause cinéastes everywhere to chortle with disdainful glee, Disney has announced that its current At the Movies hosts, Ben Lyons* and Ben Mankiewicz, will not be returning to the long-running franchise when the show's new season begins, on September 5. As you'll recall, ever since the two were tapped to replace Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper last summer, a vicious hate storm equivalent to a Category 5 tropical disaster swept across all reaches of the Internet. The movement was perhaps best embodied by the website StopBenLyons.com, which the proprietor launched because he felt that America's Most Hated Film Critic™, Ben Lyons, "crystallizes everything that's wrong with American pop culture right now." Replacing the much derided duo will be the New York Times' own A.O. "Tony" Scott and the Chicago Tribune's Michael Philips, both of whom are not only well respected in film-geek circles, but who also served previous tours of duty on the program as guest hosts during the Roeper era. Looks like we'll soon have a great reason to reinstitute our long-deleted season pass for the show once Labor Day weekend rolls around!
*It's been a particularly rough year for the Lyons clan; Ben's father, Jeffrey, was relieved of his duties as host of the nationally syndicated Reel Talk back in May.
Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips, N.Y. Times' A.O. Scott take over 'At the Movies'; Ben Lyons, Ben Mankiewicz out [Tower Ticker/Chicago Tribune via Movie City News]