The Associated Press is reporting that Roger Ebert has barred anyone appearing on his television program from rating films as “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” until he has negotiated a new contract with its producer, Disney Television.
(Ebert hasn’t appeared on the show for more than a year, due to a series of health issues, which makes this move … well, doubly ballsy.)
So far, says the AP story, Richard Roeper and current guest host Robert Wilonsky have taped two shows without using the signature evaluation. Which means Roeper has to explain his opinions instead of reducing them to “up” or “down”, which will at least make the shows more entertaining than usual.
I feel compelled to note that Roger Ebert holds the copyright on “thumbs up” and “thumbs down”. Does this mean Ridley Scott shot him a few bucks for those crucial moments in “Gladiator”? Was that a conflict of interest?