By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Aug 12, 2011 at 11:00 AM

The latest incarnation of Roger Ebert's movie review show is taking its summer break by repackaging old programs he did with his late partner, Gene Siskel.

The effort shows the weakness of "Ebert Presents at the Movies," which airs here  at midnight Friday night/Saturday morning and and 1:30 p.m. Saturday on Channel 10.

It's hosted by the Associated Press' Christy Lemire and Internet critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, two movie reviewers who lack the chemistry that the Chicago Sun-Times' Ebert and the Chicago Tribune's Siskel demonstrated in the prototype for a series of similar movie shows that have come and gone over the decades.

Lemire lacks a strong personality and Vishnevetsky skews academic and a bit high brow for most movie-goers. But, most importantly, they don't seem to fit together.

It's nice to see Ebert on camera, with his reviews read by Chicago media personalities like Bill Kurtis and Rick Kogan of the Chicago Tribune and WGN-AM (720).

But this summer series of old Siskel-Ebert shows outshines them all. There's the freshness of their pioneering role, and the nostalgia about simpler media times. Last week's first of these shows featured the pair showing how they did their jobs in a pre-Internet age.

This week's show promises "classic reviews."

Mostly, the showcase the two personalities who come from a time when newspaper movie critics wielded great power.

Today, on Twitter and Facebook, everybody thinks they're a Siskel or an Ebert.

Here's an entertaining collection of 1980's outtakes from Siskel and Ebert, who don't seem to be the best of friends, a tension that added to the success of the show (the language is pretty rough, by the way):

Bert and Ernie are puppets, not people: The years of talk that "Sesame Street" regulars Bert and Ernie are gay has led to a petition suggesting they get married.

The producers of the show posted this statement on their Facebook page to deal with the petition:

"Bert and Ernie are best friends.  They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves.

"Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets™ do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation."

On TV: Greendale's own Jane Kaczmarek has been cast in the recurring role as Whitney Cummings'  mom on NBC's new sitcom "Whitney," replacing Beverly D'Angelo. She'll be edited into the pilot episode.

  • HBO says there will be a fifth season of "True Blood" next year, which is not a surprise at all.
  • USA Network will bring "Suits" back for a second season.
  • "Spooks," the BBC show that airs here as "MI-5" has been canceled in the U.K., with the 10th season (or "series" as it's called over there) the last, according to the Guardian.
  • Seth MacFarlane will host Comedy Central's upcoming roast of Charlie Sheen.
  • NBC is again looking into a "Munsters" remake. Are there any fresh ideas out there?

George Lopez takes the high road: With word out Wednesday that he was being axed, George Lopez opened his second-to-last 11 p.m. TBS show with jokes about his demise:

Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.