I personally don't listen to the Howard Stern (nor do I recommend it) but a friend of mine caught an interview Stern did with Richard Roeper last week and made it available for me. They talked a lot about Roeper's new book, but there was a very interesting snippet of the conversation about why he left Ebert & Roeper:
Roeper: You get these geniuses [TV producers], Howard, who say after 30 years, they're like, "You know, that balcony set, that's not really a great idea. And we don't really need two thumbs up or two thumbs down. Let's do a different kind of show, let's make it zippier and have stupid people on there reviewing the movies."
Stern: Who was the stupid person?
Roeper: Well, you can watch it now, and find out for yourself. But I left, I thought I'm not going to stick around . . .
Stern: Who'd they try to team you up with that you didn't like?
Roeper: (sighs, pauses) Well, they wanted to bring in Ben Lyons, from the E! Channel. Who's a nice kid, but I don't think had ever reviewed a movie in print or written an article in his life.
Stern: Oh, that's Jeffrey Lyons' kid. His Dad was a movie reviewer so he's becoming one . . . And so you felt he didn't have a legitimate, like, you have a writing background and this kid was not a legitimate movie critic.
Roeper: And you know, honestly it wasn't anything personal against him, it's just not a show that I wanted to be a part of. And it was some of the people who they put in charge of the show who just didn't have any respect for the legacy you just mentioned. You know it's been 10 years since Gene Siskel died? I was on the show with Roger for almost 8 years. And I just felt like Roger, as you just mentioned, he's still doing well and he's writing all his reviews but he can't go on TV anymore, and I thought "I'm not going to go and stomp all over the legacy of the show these guys created." So we moved on and Roger and I are working on another show now, it's going to be coming out soon, and he's going to be behind the scenes as an executive producer. We're going to restore the legacy of the show.
Most of that is known from Roeper's blog post a few weeks ago, except this is the first time that I know of that either Ebert or Roeper have publicly dissed Lyons (although Roger all but called him out by name a few months ago). This is also the first time that Roeper has stated that he left in part because the producers wanted to bring Lyons in--to replace Michael Phillips!
Until now, it just seemed like Roeper left because he didn't like the "new direction" the show was taking, and then Lyons was just one of the guys who happened to replace him. On the contrary, it turns out that Ben Lyons has been a willing participant to "stomping on the legacy" of Siskel & Ebert and has in fact had the entire show upended simply on his account! What a spoiled fucking brat.
This also does not exactly reflect well on Mank, who now looks like the one guy who was actually willing to work with Lyons (unlike everybody else). And any idea (which I admit to having in the past) that either A) the show might dump Lyons and have Mank host with somebody else, or B) Mank would leave the show, both now look highly unlikely.