Ebert’s Television Program Shutting Down

Roger Ebert is cancelling his movie review program due to lack of funding:

In trying to get the show back on TV, we approached WTTW, the Chicago public station where Gene and I began on “Sneak Previews” in 1976. In the dusty corner, they still had the balcony chairs we used. We went in for meetings.

Since we went on the air in January 2011, “Ebert Presents” has been almost entirely funded by Chaz and me, plus $25,000 in generous backing from the Kanbar Charitable Trust. We paid for the screen tests. We paid for the pilot. We paid for the titles. We paid for the set, the lighting, and all of the salaries (Chaz and I do not draw one). We have offices at WTTW, for which, of course, we pay rent. We pay for the director, the camera operators, the assistant producers, the interns, the editors and editing suites, the transmission of the show to American Public Television, lunch on taping days, everything.

I should make clear that I’m not blaming public television for this kettle of fish. They’ve been honest and forthright in all of their dealings with us, and provided the show with a good home. I just wanted to lay out some facts about the public television business model, because many people thought we are being funded by them. Your donations to public television are put to good use. Without that support for their operations, the public television stations couldn’t maintain their facilities from which to broadcast shows like ours, nor produce local productions.

Ebert’s blog is fantastic.  You should read it.  His reviews are also top-notch–I virtually never watch a movie without his recommendation.  We should all be disappointed by this.

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