CHICAGO (AP) — Film critic Roger Ebert is telling his readers that he may have to cancel his television show "Ebert Presents: At the Movies" unless someone steps up and helps him and his wife pay for it.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic wrote on his blog Sunday night that after an initial contribution of $25,000 from Kanbar Charitable Trust, he and Chaz Ebert have been paying virtually all the bills for the show, which began airing on public television in January.
Ebert said he has been pleased with the program, which is hosted by Associated Press movie reviewer Christy Lemire and Mubi.com film critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky.
But after months of paying for everything from screen tests to interns to lunch on taping days, "We can't afford to support the show any longer," wrote Ebert, who can no longer speak after cancer surgery. "That's what it comes down to."
Ebert wrote that he had hoped foundations and others would step forward to underwrite the show, but that nobody has. And now, he wrote, American Public Television is asking him whether the show will be back next season, and he has to have an answer by the end of this month. He wrote that Chaz Ebert, the executive producer, will continue to seek funding for the show.
"Unless we find underwriting, I'm afraid our answer will have to be 'no,'" he wrote.
Lou Ferrara, the AP managing editor who oversees entertainment coverage, said Lemire has reviewed movies for the AP throughout her tenure with the Ebert show.
"Even if the show ends, Christy will continue providing film reviews and other movie coverage for The Associated Press," Ferrara said.