Friday, April 3, 2009

Roeper didn't want to work with "stupid people"

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.

7 comments:

Tom Clift said...

Thank christ he left. I couldn't stand watching him struggle against the brainless bullshit the Lyons churns out every week

Anonymous said...

"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."


Oh man, this sounds like a bad episode of Entourage or Curb Your Enthusiasm. Or one of those David Mamet movies about Hollywood. "Richard- you and Ben Lyons! What do you think?!"

Scott said...

Yeah, I was thinking of Jack Donaghy, President of Television and Microwave Programming, on "30 Rock."

Or Brian Frons.

Jordan CC-raw :D said...

I completely agree with Roeper's stance on this. They started to bring in a "panel" of critics and all kinds of internet pandering that doesn't work!

The original formula was simplicity itself, and it really just.. worked. Why change something that's worked very well for 25+ years? It's ridiculous.

Also, Ebert & Roeper's new show is hopefully going to be called "Two Thumbs Up" and it's already got a site:

http://www.twothumbsup.tv/

They have Roeper, Phillips and Lemire :)

Anonymous said...

When they brought in the panel of critics, the only thing I could think of was Jon Stewart's parody of the "Octobox".

Scott said...

Yeah, me too, I thought that was hailarious!

Imagine the embarrassment of the producers--recreating their entire show by dumbing down the criticism and bringing in their fancy multi-critic CNN-style "roundup".

Then the Daily Show, arguably the most popular show among young people (in terms of trend-setting and "hipness"), which critiques US foreign and domestic policy without assuming their viewers are stupid, lambastes their idiotically flashy contrivances.

If the producers really wanted to learn from the Daily Show about what appeals to young people, they would provide criticism that is a bit more skeptical of Hollywood and its star machine rather than gushing over the latest "event movie."

Billy said...

Ooh, I've been waiting for someone to wheedle this out of Roeper! We all knew it was true, too; Richard would never work with such a grinning idiot. Though it's depressing to realize that Lyons is the *centerpiece* of the new show.