“Sneak Previews” commercial successor succumbs to low ratings

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At the Movies, the latest incarnation of WTTW’s PBS show Sneak Previews, is ending due to low ratings. Disney-ABC Domestic Television and ABC Media Productions made the announcement today. The show lasted 24 seasons, according to the Chicago Tribune’s media writer Phil Rosenthal. WTTW first paired Gene Siskel, who was reviewing films for the Tribune and the local CBS affiliate, with Pulitzer Prize-winner Roger Ebert, for Opening Soon … at a Theater Near You in 1975; about three years later it went nationwide on PBS as Sneak Previews. “It was one of the most popular shows in PBS history,” Rosenthal noted. A dispute with WTTW led Siskel and Ebert to commercial television in 1982. Siskel died in 1999. Ebert has struggled with cancer for several years and lost his ability to speak, but has found another career as a wildly popular blogger.

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