Ebert's 'Answer Man' column has gotten kind of weird over the years; Ebert's developed a weekly tendency to bust out at least one answer that ranges from cryptic to completely incomprehensible. But I still read it religiously. I also watched Ebert's television show religiously until he departed, and even then I still tried to tune in when someone interesting sat across the aisle from Roeper -- A.O. Scott, say.

This week on Answer Man, a reader asks our host to track his show's ever-changing titles throughout the years, starting with "Sneak Previews," becoming the unwieldy "Siskel & Ebert & the Movies," and meeting its inglorious end as "Doofus & His Guest," or something like that. Ebert dutifully responds, appending this to the end of his answer: "Another chapter to this saga will begin when Richard and I shortly announce a new movie review program."

Fantastic! How? Ebert's made no secret of the fact that he is unable to speak. And the Roeper-and-rotating-stand-in schtick led to declining ratings and the show's demise. I'm envisioning bizarre alternatives like Ebert reading his reviews through his voice synthesizer, Hawking-style, or hiring a troupe of actors to theatrically interpret them. More realistically, I suspect there might be a rotating panel of critics, with Roeper a regular presence, with a special "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney"-style segment where someone reads some always-welcome thoughts from Roger.

Anyway, I'll certainly give it a shot. I do think there's room for a smart, Ben-Lyons-free movie review show -- and though I take my share of digs at Roeper, and though I wouldn't go out of my way to watch him, I don't dislike the guy. Would you watch another Roeper-led affair? And, any thoughts on how Ebert might be involved?
categories Movies, Cinematical