THE BALCONY GOES DARK when the last installment of “At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper” airs Aug. 16 over ABC.
The two critics resigned from one of the longest-running shows in TV history a day before owner-syndicator Disney ABC Domestic Television announced it would replace Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper and make the format more “Hollywood Access”-like.
Hosts of the new show, starting in September, are scions of famous media families. Ben Mankiewicz, 41, a Turner Classic Movies’ host, is the grandson of Herman Mankiewicz, Ben Lyons, 26, of “E! News” is the son of film critic Jeffrey Lyons and grandson of New York Post columnist Leonard Lyons.
Ebert said in an entry in “Roger Ebert’s Journal” that they plan to continue the traditional format in a new venue, and asked, “How many other TV formats had survived so long?”
The show is 33 years old. In 1975 ago, then- Ch. 11 producer Thea Flaum created “At the Movies” with rival critics Roger Ebert of the Sun-Times and the late Gene Siskel of the Tribune and its “thumbs up” trademark.
Flaum retired from TV show production when she sold her 25-year old production company last year.
INTEGRATED PRODUCTION COMPANY EATDRINK named 3D animation specialist Bradon Webb creative director, who will be responsible for overseeing the broadcast design and animation teams. He replaces John Dretzka who left to pursue other opportunities. Chad Hutson is eatdrink’s president and producer.
LOOK FOR L.A. COMPANIES IN CHICAGO shooting commercials on location from one to three days. MoxiePictures is here for Harris Bank, Chelsea Pictures in Moline for John Deere and Oil Factory for Meijer’s department store. Other than these known jobs, the drought continues.
TRACY LETTS’ “AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY” will be transformed into a movie ? Letts will write the screenplay ? with two former Chicagoans producing, reports Bill Zwecker in his Sun-Times column.
JAM Theatricals’ Steve Traxler partners with producer Jean Doumanian, who produced Woody Allen films “Mighty Aphrodite” and “Bullets over Broadway,” among many others.
A VENDORS FAIR will be part of the Saturday Black Harvest Film Festival for the first time. Some of the companies exhibiting are SMS Productions, Vagabond Audio, Calumet Camera, JVC and the Chicago Film Producers Alliance. The Fair is open to all and runs from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Gene Siskel Film Center.
“HOW TO GET A MOVIE MADE” will be the topic of a panel discussion, headed by festival consultant Sergio Mims, at the aforementioned Black Harvest, also on Saturday, at 5:30 p.m.
Panelists, who have been through the process of finding money to distribution and whose films will screen, are producer/actor Simeon “Simbo” Henderson (“Caught in the Game”); director Mark Spencer (“The Ballad of Sadie Hawkins”); director Francis Polo (“9 to 5”); director Kameishia Wooten (“Southern Cross”) and director David Muhammad (“The Opposite of Life”).
A MEAGER $5,000 IS ALL THAT’S NEEDED to pay the travel expenses for “Citizen Kate” to attend the upcoming Democratic and Republican Conventions and report on it for her multitude of webisode fans. Hence a fundraiser Aug. 14 at Shuba’s.
LOOKING AHEAD the Chicago Creative Club Awards Show, Sept. 10 at the United Club at Soldier Field, which promises to have taken a new direction after 2007’s disastrous show ? The IFP Gala fund-raiser Sept. 29 at the Primitive art gallery, 130 N. Jefferson. Perhaps a new executive director will be in place by then …
Rapper/actor Common receives the Emerging Artist Award at the Black Perspectives’ wing of the Chicago International Film Festival Oct. 16 at the Chase Auditorum.