In November, Roger Ebert wrote to his fans informing them that his public television series, “Ebert Presents: At the Movies,” which he started in early 2011 with his wife, Chaz, would soon go off the air for good if they couldn’t find more donors.
It appears they never got the cash they needed, because Ebert announced on his website that the show is going on indefinite hiatus at the end of December until they can come up with the money. It’s not all bad news — they’re still discussing financing with various executives, but could ultimately not come up with the required money in time to make public TV stations’ deadlines for setting their 2012 programming slates.
“We held off as long as possible but we had to give notice today,” Ebert writes.
“It was a sad but necessary moment of realism. The show is nationally distributed by American Public Television (APT), and they have been very helpful. They send us to more than 95% of the U.S. public television audience and all 50 top markets. The show is also distributed overseas by the American Forces Network to over 175 countries and even to Navy ships. But in mapping out their 2012 program schedules, APT’s member stations need to know what they can count on.”
Ebert says that they’re still exploring their options, and are considering the possibility of a Kickstarter campaign or other direct contribution method. “At the Movies” was financed mainly by the Eberts, and hosted by film critics Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky.