In my book A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips were sharp and engaging co-hosts of At The Movies, but the bottom-line Disney-ABC execs didn’t like their ratings so they’re not only whacking Scott-Phillips but pulling the plug on the show. That’s it, finito, all she wrote — the final program will air on Aug. 14th.
I’m sorry. I really liked watching these guys do the At The Movies shpiel. But honestly? I only watched them twice. I was actually trying to find an embed code of their review of Greenberg this morning, but the Disney-ABC webmasters don’t provide them.
Nobody wants to listen to a couple of witty, knowledgable big-city guys riff on the latest films because…well, obviously because film critics are an endangered species coast-to-coast so why should a TV show starring two critics be any kind of success? The internet has given millions of film fans the idea that they know just as much as the smarty-pants types, etc. It’s a new world with new rules.
The producers should have gone with my idea for a film-critic boxing show. Two critics holding opposing views on a new film wouldn’t debate or explain their views — they’d fight it out and bow to the will of God. They’d put on trunks and gloves and go three rounds in the ring, and the one who has the most points (or is still standing) at the end would be presumed to have the wisest and most perceptive view of the film in question. Isn’t this how Spanish land disputes were settled in the days of El Cid?
“This was a very difficult decision, especially considering the program’s rich history and iconic status within the entertainment industry, but from a business perspective it became clear this weekly, half-hour, broadcast syndication series was no longer sustainable,” said Disney-ABC Domestic Television in a statement released late Wednesday afternoon.